NORM BUSTING EXPERIMENT
DUE DATE: OCTOBER 11, 2016
We know that norms and mundane social structures are difficult to identify since they seem so “natural.” Thus, a way to identify these hidden structures is simple —> BREAK THE RULES.
In this assignment, you will violate a social norm in order to see social structure come to life. You will then record and analyze people’s reactions to your norm violation, present a 5 minutes Power Point and/or video presentation on the process and results and discuss your experience in the context of information from lecture and/or your assigned readings.
- DO NOT do anything illegal or dangerous!
- Breaking the rules excludes doing anything illegal or of any risk to your and others’ health and safety.
- Remember that violating a norm doesn’t always mean doing something “bad”—doing good things, like random acts of kindness, also violate norms, as do many things that would simply be called “weird.”
- This is a GROUP assignment. Make sure your section number and every group member’s name is on the presentation. DO NOT include the names of individuals who did not work on the assignment.
- If people believe a group of college students is “in on something,” they will respond accordingly and your findings will be invalid.
- Try to be discrete in doing your observations. If people see a camera or recorder, they will respond differently and your findings will be invalid.
- Make sure every member of the group has a functional role: violator, recorder, technician, film editor, etc.
- Identify a norm you would like to violate.
- Describe the norm, how you propose to violate it, and how you think people will reaction this violation.
- Carry out your norm violation experiment.
- Take notes IMMEDIATELY following your norm violation
- Be certain to note the following things:
- How did you feel before, while, and after doing the norm violation?
- How long did it take people to react to your norm violation? Was the reaction immediate, or did people take some time to notice what you were doing?
- How did the observers react?
- Did you debrief your “victims” after the norm violation? What was their response after you told them what you were doing?
- Analyze your field notes, considering the following questions:
- Try to categorize people’s reactions and analyze them for patterns. Why do you think people reacted similarly or differently? Consider characteristics of the “victim” and “violator.”
- Why do you think you felt the way you did throughout the norm violation process from beginning to end?
- What did this exercise teach you? What are your conclusions?
- Visual Presentation of your experiment. The presentation will be in three parts and should be edited to a 5 minute presentation. (Use the Power Point template as a guideline)
- Introduction and Expectations (Hypothesis): Item 1.1 of the instructions
- Methods: Item 1.1 of the instructions
- Observations (Evidence): Item 2.2 of the instructions. These descriptions should be refined examples of the responses you documented in your field notes.
- Analysis (Results) Item 3.1
- Conclusions: Items 3.2 and 3.3.
- You turn in your field notes with your presentation.