Dyersburg State Community Col

Breaching Experiment:

What is a breaching experiment? Imagine these scenarios:

Example 1- You are sitting in Starbucks on a crowded morning. Your books are open. Your coffee is hot and ready to drink, and your IPod is playing your favorite study tunes. You are tapped on the shoulder by an individual holding a newspaper who says, “Excuse me, can I have your seat?” What do you do? What do you say? Is there something strange about this?

Example 2- You are standing in line at the registration office to pay for your classes. The wait has been long but you are nearly to the front of the line. Another student walks calmly to the front of the line, cuts in, and is called to the next open window. What just happened? Do you say something? Do other say or do something?

Breaching Experiments: The above examples are adaptations of breaching experiments conducted by famous sociologist Harold Garfinkel. In these cases, the individual who asked someone to move from their seat for no apparent reason, or who cut in the long line, were violating unspoken social norms. Garfinkel and his students designed experiments to test the unstated social rules that we live by, and examine what happens when these unstated rules and norms are violated. A breaching experiment is a controlled social situation in which individuals involved intentionally break social rules and violate basic norms and patterns of behavior (Croteau and Hoynes, 2012).

Your Assignment: Becoming a norm violator for experimental purposes

For this assignment, you will become a social researcher and conduct a breaching experiment in which you violate a social norm to examine individual’s responses.

  • First, think of unspoken social rules and norms that govern what, how, and why people do basic, everyday things (dress, talk, eat, walk, shop, work, sit, etc.). Remember that many social rules only become obvious once they are broken. Be creative!!!
  • Second, think of how you can violate, or breach, one of these norms in a social situation (at school, work, in the mall, etc.). *Select a norm to breach.
  • Third, design and conduct your experiment! Where, when, and how will you conduct your breaching experiment? Take notes on what happens. How do individuals respond?
  • Lastly, you will answer all of the following questions thoroughly and academically to explain your norm violation and examine your experiment results.

*** Rules_Be careful. Use common sense. No breaking the law. Do not put yourself or anyone else in danger of any kind. If you think that your experiment/idea is questionable in any way, please consult me in class or via email prior to conducting your experiment.

*** Need Help_Start early. Ask questions. Do some outside research (breaching experiments are a popular assignment; a Google search may give you some good info and ideas, but don’t plagiarize)

Breaching experiment Write up: 900-1200 words (3-4 pages)

Write up should be typed, double spaced, 12 pt. font, and free from grammatical errors. Use paragraph format to answer each question as thouroughly as possible.

1. Introduction: What is a social norm? What are they for? What do they give to individuals and to society? What happens when they are breached? Why do people care? Then, give us the purpose of the experiment and of the paper. What social norm did you select for your breaching experiment?

2. Please explain your breaching experiment: (Be specific, detailed, and scientific)

  • a. what did you do to violate the social norm?
  • b. where and when did you conduct your experiment? Was there any reason for this place or time?
  • c. How many times did you intend to repeat your experiment? How many times did you actually repeat it?
  • d. How did you collect data on what happened when your norm violation occurred? Notes? Video? Observation? Explain how you went about this in detail.

3. Results: What happened when your norm violation occurred? Was there a general response or did people act differently? Were there differing responses from people depending on age, sex, or race/ethnicity, etc? How did your own characteristics govern how your behavior was received? You will want to look at reactions in the context of socialization, and think of how each group has been socialized to respond to your behavior.Please explain and use at least two specific examples of responses. *Pay close attention to your own reaction. How do you feel before, during, and after the experiment? What does this say about you and your role in society?

4. Analysis: Why did people respond the way they did? Explain and analyze the responses of individuals. What does this say about your social norm, society, and people? Use your sociological imagination to try and theorize why people act the way they do in micro level interactions. You will want to pick two or more theories from our course to explain how and why you performed, and others responded to your breach. This is NOT the time to include as many terms as you can from the course; instead, select specific theories/concepts, explain how they work in detail, and then apply them to specific examples from your experiment. Some good theories to include in this part come from chapters 3-7.

Note: Your analysis is extremely important to receiving an “A” on this paper. A proper sociological analysis will apply terminology and concepts from this course in an attempt to explain the responses of subjects to your experiment

5. Conclusion: What did you learn from conducting this experiment? What will you take away? Why do even mild modifications of “normal” behavior bother people?

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Guidelines for the Summary Assignment:

A summary is shortened version of a longer text; it can be a summary from a novel a report, a short story, or a newspaper or magazine article. When you write a summary, you are not rewriting the original piece, but you are selecting the main idea and key details to give your reader an overview of the important points in the original piece. Your summary will be approximately one third to one fourth as long as the original text. The summary must be written in your own words. You are not to use blocks of the original text, and you should avoid using quotations from the original unless there is one piece of information that you think simply must be quoted to convey the original author’s idea.

Your purpose in writing a summary is to give the basic ideas of the original reading and some key details. What was the original text about and what did the author hope to communicate? While reading the original work, follow the guidelines posted in the class about tips for summary writing. Then ask yourself these basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Using these questions as you read can help you to write the summary.

Look for the author’s thesis or the central idea. Sometimes you will find it in the introduction or first paragraph. Finding the thesis statement is like finding a key to a locked door. Sometimes though the thesis, or central idea, is implied or suggested. That means you will have to figure out what the author wants readers to understand. Pay attention to the title and to the opening and closing lines of paragraphs for clues to important points.

In writing the summary, you must inform your reader of the piece you are summarizing. The opening line in your paper must identify the title, source, and author of the piece. Follow this format: In “Title of the Piece” (source and date of piece), author (name the author—full name) shows (explains, describes, etc) that: central idea of the piece. You may vary this sentence structure, but all of this information must appear in the opening or the second sentence.

Your paper must be between 325 and 350 words. You don’t have many words to get across the main points. Remember, this is a summary. Be sure you follow the process for drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading your paper. When it is completed, put your name and the assignment name at the top left of the paper YourName_Summary. Save your assignment as a Word document and submit it to the class Drop Box.

*Note: Even though everyone in the class is summarizing the same article that is no reason for any two papers to match. This is a just a cautionary note to be sure you do your own work. This is not a good assignment for collaboration! Do not share your work unless you also want to share a 0. https://hbr.org/2020/05/why-sexual-harassment-prog…

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Guidelines for Writing Argumentative Essays:

An argumentative essay is built around a specific statement known as the thesis or conclusion that is debatable. The focus of an argumentative essay is a statement with which your readers may disagree. Your essay will need to support that statement in a manner that convinces your readers of its truth. 

What makes a statement debatable or non-debatable? These points should help explain the difference between debatable and non-debatable statements. 

Debatable statements:  Statements with which other people might or might not agree. These are sometimes called “arguments,” “assertions,” “propositions,” “claims,” or “conclusions.” 

Non-debatable statements: Statements with which no one would normally disagree or argue. These are sometimes called “facts.” If you are writing a paper about a non-debatable statement, then perhaps you are just writing a report. 

The introduction to an argumentative essay generally has four parts. 

Introduces the topic

States why the topic is important

States that there is a difference of opinion about this topic 

Describes how the assignment will be structured and clearly states the writer’s main conclusion

  1. The concluding paragraph or closing of an argumentative essay is as important as the introduction. The concluding paragraph closes the essay and tries to close the issue. The aim is to convince the reader that your essay has covered all the most important arguments about the issue and that your main conclusion is the best position on the issue. 
  2. 1. Restates the main conclusion that you proposed earlier.
    2. Presents one or two general sentences which accurately summarize your arguments.
    3. Provides a general warning of the consequences of not following the conclusion that you put forward and/or a general statement of how the reader or the wider community would benefit from following your conclusion.
  3. Check the body of your essay for the following things: 
  4. 1. Do any of your paragraphs present arguments that oppose your main conclusion?
    2. Do any of your paragraphs present arguments that support your main conclusion as non-debatable or as facts?
    3. Have you clearly marked any places where you shift from the opposing arguments to the supporting arguments with a contrasting connective (such as “however”)?
    4. Have you used connectives, pronouns and referencing words (such as “this” or “these” to make your paragraph cohesive?

The following persuasive topics are ones you can choose from:  Decide which topic you want to discuss and which side you are on:

1) Should politicians have term limits?

Many students say what if I don’t like these topics. Can I write about something else?  My answer would be you can as long as it is under the same broad heading as these topics?. For example, teaching is or is not an appealing profession

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Guidelines for Writing With Sources Assignment

This is an assignment that requires you to practice citing information from a source, using MLA. You will also do a works cited page for this assignment, using the two sources that appear in your paper. When you write and include outside information, a resource, in your paper you have to give credit to the author of that information. In MLA, we refer to that reference in the text as a parenthetical citation or in text citation, followed with a page that lists all the references you have included or cited in your paper.

Learning Outcome: Demonstrate critical reading and writing, using sources correctly according to MLA guidelines. Use a parenthetical citation to document a direct quote and a paraphrased reference from the source article.

Reading Assignment:  Read the two articles included in this module. They both deal with the topic of the electoral college.  As you probably noticed, in the recent presidential elections, the hundreds year old argument about the electoral college have been back in full swing.  In order to understand this important American political issue, you may need to understand what all the fuss is about.

Writing Question: Income inequality is a topic that is often in the news. Many wonder if it is actually a problem and if so what should be done about it?  What is the issue of income equality? What do some people want to do about it? Why do others feel it is something that should be left alone?

Writing Specifics: Write a short (450-500 word) essay in response to the writing question. Your response/reply to the article must include two references from the articles. That means you must use one reference that is a paraphrased reference and one that is a direct quote from each of two articles. Use parenthetical citations for this and give your works cited entries for the two articles on a separate page. You may use first person, but your essay should be based on or supported with evidence from two of these articles. 

Submission: Save your work as a Word document and submit your final paper to the dropbox. You must save your work in this format for this and every assignment in the class. Your Name_Writing With Sources  ex. JSmith_Writing With Sources

Note: Remember that you must also use these articles as the proof or evidence of the argument/opinion you are making about this topic. This is your first assignment in writing with source information.

Tips for writing this essay:

Before you start reading, think about your ideas on the subject. Think about your own real-world knowledge. Then, read the articles that are posted and think about what message they are sending. Highlight things you agree with. Then, think of your main point. Remember, this is a short piece.  Get to the point and stay there! articles:

1. Trends in income and wealth inequality 2.Study shows income gap..

1. https://elearn.dscc.edu/d2l/le/content/8617378/vie…

2. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/01/the-covid-recessio… 

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