The Case Study Assignment

You will need to recruit a friend or acquaintance to assist you with this assignment.  This individual should be a person who has no formal training in psychology (i.e., has not taken a psychology course or received some other form of training on the topic).  Ideally, this person will have the opportunity to make a behavioral observation along with you.  That way, you are both witnessing the behavior in real time, under the same conditions and circumstances.  Be sure to explain this assignment to your friend ahead of time and get permission to use her/his input in your write-up (see below).
Over the next few days, your task is to pay attention to your behavior and the behavior of others around you. You are looking for situations and interactions that you and a friend can collectively observe and then discuss, interpret, and analyze together.  Your friend will provide the perspective of the “casual observer” (i.e., the average person).  You will provide the perspective of the “social scientist” and use the information you have learned in this course (i.e., psychological terminology, principles, concepts, and/or theories) to explain what you have witnessed.  For these reasons, you should focus on observations you can link to any of the topics covered in the course thus far in the semester.  
Your behavior observation will be referred to as your “case study.”  Once you and your friend have completed the observation, you will construct a “case study write-up” that includes the following information:
 1) Date of the behavioral observation (i.e., case study). 
 2) Location of the case study.  
3) Brief Case Description. This description should include any and all details needed to provide a complete
description of the event/observation for someone who did not witness it first-hand.  Avoid specific personal identifying details, such as names, to protect the privacy of the people you observe but be sure to provide a comprehensive description of the event itself and the behavior of the persons involved.
4) Casual Explanation.  This explanation will be provided by your friend/acquaintance.  Ask your friend to
describe what she/he observed and to provide an explanation for, or interpretation of, the behavior.  How does the “average person” view the behavior(s) observed?  What explanation does she/he give for those behaviors? 
5) Psychological Application. This application will be provided by you (the social scientist). In doing so, you will
seek to analyze/explain/interpret the behavior(s) you observed using what you have learned in this course.  You will provide functional connections between your observations and relevant course material (i.e., a specific psychological concept, principle, or theory). Be sure to discuss your case study using appropriate psychological terminology.  You must also incorporate information from ONE academic source into your analysis (this CANNOT be your textbook).  Be sure to cite that source both in text and in a Reference list at the end of your assignment using APA editorial style.  You should avoid internet sources, with the exception of electronic versions of articles from peer-reviewed journals. 
6) Compare/Contrast. Compare and contrast the explanations provided by your friend (the casual observer) and
you (the social scientist).  Were the explanations similar or different?  In what ways?  Did you focus on different aspects of behavior when trying to explain it?  If you focus on different factors/variables when trying to explain the behavior?  What did you learn from this exercise about casual, everyday explanations of behavior and those provided by the scientific study of behavior?  
7) Reference list.  Provide a complete reference entry for any source cited in your psychological application
discussion. The APA tutorial from Assignment 1 covers citation and APA format for journal article references. You are encouraged to use the APA resources posted in Blackboard for help with APA format.  
Review the grading criteria for this assignment on the attached grading rubric (see page 3) to understand what you need to address in your case study to earn points on this assignment.
Your Completed Assignment MUST Include:
1) ONE behavioral observation of events in your own life.
2) A 2-3 page write-up (12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced and 1 inch margins) in which
you summarize and then compare/contrast the two perspectives/explanations specified in this assignment (i.e., a causal/everyday explanation [provided by a third party] and the explanation based on scientific investigation). 
3) Full in-text and Reference list citation for the research sources used to complete the assignment (in APA editorial
  format).   Assignment

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