FROM CHUCK TUCKER 951027
Rick's suggestion that we go researching in "public" reminded
me of this exercise that my students perform for my social
psychology course. The most difficult part of this exercise
is to be able to describe at a very low level of interpretation
before another interpretation is made. Try this yourself and
see what difficulties you have with it.
"What are they Doing?"
Go to a restaurant (a "food hall" in a nearby Mall or Russell
House Cafeteria if you have no interest in purchasing a meal) and
take notes on the activities of ONE (just one) set of persons
nearby you. Notice the seating arrangements, what they are doing
with their hands, when, how and in what ways they look at each
other, their general posture and over-all appearance. Listen to
them talk but do not eavesdrop to the extent that you record what
they are saying to each other.
Write down as many observations that you can but stop recording
after you have three pages of them.
With these three pages of observations, write three different
interpretations (or stories or versions) of what the people that
you observed are doing with one another. Match each of your
interpretations with your detailed observations and turn them in
as part of your paper.
These different interpretations or stories or versions should make
you aware of how one (YOU) imputes meaning to actions in everyday
life. Since you will probably be able to support all three
interpretations with your observations, it will help you
appreciate the nature of social phenomena.