Section 1: Naturalistic Observation The first half of your research will be a naturalistic observation. You will be determining the baseline of behavior, or what the behavior looks like, or the amount of the behavior present under normal circumstances. The observer is unobtrusive, rather like the wallpaper. There is no interference with the behavior.
You are to select a human behavior. Discuss the problem surrounding this behavior. The following is a list of topics which have been used in the past. You may select from the list or develop one of your own. Select a behavior which you encounter each day. The greatest challenge is isolating or narrowing the behavior to a single event which you can define, count, and attempt to change or observe as changed in a different environment.Eye contactHand washingDoor opening for othersMoney on the groundCleaning off the table after you eat in a fast food restaurantResponse time of clerks when the researcher dresses poorly or nicelyTips – restaurant, beauty salon, etc.Helpful behavior when toilet paper is attached to the researchers shoe in a public placeHand waving when driving down a country roadChanging television stations in a public waiting roomProducts purchased from shelves of different heightColor of products purchasedSeating behaviors in school cafeteria or restaurantStop light runningUse of cell phones in school areasUse of cell phones while drivingPurchasing one item or the “full meal deal” at a fast food restaurantHuman responses to walking dogs of different sizes or breedsHuman response to “Don’t walk on the grass!” signsDriver behavior while waiting on a stop light (make-up, hair combing using rear view mirror)Assistance reaching items from the top shelfDropping a dollar while walking through Walmart…will someone return the dollar? (Can be an expensive project.)Returning shopping carts to the proper areasSmiling or waving “thank you” when a car stops to allow shoppers to cross in the parking lotBehavior in the check-out line: smiling, conversation…The behavior of children in the check-out line (pulling things from shelves, yelling, smiling, climbing out of cart….)Behavior of children in a classroom (talking, out of seat, interrupting, turning in homework….)DO NOT:Place a baby carrier on top of a car and drive around the mall parking lot to see if someone will attempt to stop youStop your car by the side of the road to see if someone might stop and assistAttempt a tail gating experiment of any kindSelect any behavior which might be harmful, socially offensive, or immoralComplete the Observation Project Form. Write a theory and hypothesis, explain the procedure you will use to determine if the theory and hypothesis are supported, give the result or the count, and finally, discuss your results or findings. Section 2: Experiment The second half of the project will be a type of experiment. By introducing a variable, you will attempt to increase or decrease a behavior. For example, one student in Iraq counted the number of men who failed to wash their hands after using the latrine next to the dining facility. This student’s count suggested a problem. During the behavior change section of the project, the student placed honey (the independent variable) on the handles of the doors. As a result, hand washing (the dependent variable) increased.
Your project will require you to walk through the same steps again, but from the point of view of changing or improving the behavior. Begin with your own results. That is the statement of the problem. You have counted and found that, yes, this is an area of human behavior which should be improved. Complete the Observation Project Form. Again, APA documentation style must be used when citing references in context and references (if any). Your textbook may be your only reference.