Human observation project


Statement of the Problem: Explain the problem behavior. Convince the reader this behavior needs to be studied.  Give examples from life.  Remember, do not use personal pronouns (I, me, my).   If you would like an A or B on your project add information from professional, scholarly research and site your reference using APA style documentation.  In order to locate professional, scholarly research go to the CTC library online database, type in your topic, and click peer reviewed.

Theory: This is a prediction. What do you expect to observe. The theory is a general statement. For example, most males or females do not wash their hands after using the restroom. Most people will not pick up after themselves after eating in a public place.

Hypothesis: The hypothesis must be written in such a way as to test the theory. A theory is like an umbrella covering behaviors with the presumption that they are related. A good hypothesis rains on the umbrella to see if there are any holes. For example, between the hours of 11:00 and 1:00 on Monday and Wednesday at McDonald’s most patrons (or males, females, adolescents) will not place their napkins, cups, plates, and eating utensils in the trash and return their tray to the rack.

Procedure: This is a description of the step-by-step process used during the observation. Where did the observer sit? Was the observer visible to the subject being observed? How was data collected? The description needs to be written in sufficient detail that someone else could attempt to replicate (repeat) the procedure to determine if the same results could be obtained.

Results: The results are given in the form of numbers. This is the count. It is often presented in complex statistical terms. A numerical count and percentages will be sufficient for our purposes. An A or B level paper will add a graph or chart with well defined axses.

Discussion: This is a summary of the results in simpler, more practice language. The numbers are converted to statements of meaning and application. Include discussion of strengths and weaknesses of the research.  Example:  During the observation of eye contact while walking across campus a hail storm suddenly interrupted the study.

II. Change of Behavior

Statement of the Problem: In this section refer back to your own research.  Example:  Previous research has demonstrated that over 50% of males and 40% of females do not wash their hands after using the restroom.  The possibility for spreading bacteria is significant.

Theory:  This is the new prediction.  Example:  People you believe they are being observed will be more likely to wash their hands after using the restroom.

Hypothesis:  Write a statement which predicts and tests the theory.  This takes operational definitions. Example:  If an observer holding a clip board and recording behaviors is standing next to the sink in the restroom subjects will tend to wash their hands.

Procedure:  This is a detailed description of how the observation was carried out.  Example:  The observer stood by the sink in the female restroom on Monday and Wednesday between the hours of 12:00 and 1:00 holding a clip board, pencil, and a stop watch.  As subjects left the stalls she looked intently at each subject, began to write on the clip board, and turned on the stop watch when hand washing was initiated.

Results:  Once again these are the numbers, the count, in paragraph form.  Better papers include percentages.  A and B project add graphs or charts, but do not omit the paragraph information.

Discussion: The section explains the entire research project.   Cite your numbers and explain them.  Add strengths and weaknesses of the study.  At this point all good research should produce questions in the mind of the researcher which have never been considered before.  Discuss possible new lines of research to answer these questions.

References:  The last page must contain the references cited in the first Statement of the Problem.  Uses APA style documentation.  Dr. Kalat uses APA in your textbook.  Notice how he refers to a source within the context of the chapter by using (last name, year of publication).  At the end of your text book he cites the complete reference.  Look at the pattern he uses for a guide.

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