Group Influence

This assignment will give you experience observing and interacting with people outside of the classroom. It has been designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop skills, synthesize knowledge, and integrate learning in a real-world setting. This goal is accomplished by challenging you to physically attend and observe a group.

Note: Social and family events, religious services, classes, court proceedings, lectures, and sporting events are not acceptable events for the purpose of this assignment.

Purpose: To provide you with an opportunity to experience a group setting and analyze how the presence of others substantially influences the behaviors of its members through social facilitation.

Observe a group discussing a topic of interest, such as a focus group, a community public assembly, a department meeting at your workplace, or local support group.

Study how the group members interact and influence one another.

Analyze how the group behaviors and communication patterns influence social facilitation.

Integrate your findings with evidence-based literature from journal articles, the course text, and additional scholarly sources. The literature should be about group patterns, not about the content of the meeting.

Process: You will participate as a guest at an interest group meeting in your community to gather data for a qualitative research paper. Once you have located an interest group, contact stakeholders, and explain the purpose of your inquiry. After you receive permission to participate, you will schedule a date to attend the meeting; at which time you will observe the members and document the following for your analysis:

  • How were the people arranged in the physical environment (layout of room and seating arrangement)?
  • What is the composition of the group, in terms of number of people, age, sex, ethnicity, and so on?
  • What are the group’s purpose, mission, and goals?
  • What is the duration of the group (short- or long-term)? Explain.
  • Did the group structure its discussion around an agenda, program, or rules of order?
  • Describe the structure of the group. How is the group organized?
  • Who are the primary facilitators of the group?
  • What subject or issues did the group members examine during the meeting?
  • What types of information did members exchange in their group?
  • What were the group’s norms, roles, status hierarchy, or communication patterns?
  • What communication patterns illustrated if the group was unified or fragmented? Explain.
  • Did the members share a sense of identity with one another (characteristics of the group, similarities, interests, philosophy, and so on)?
  • Was there any indication that members might be vulnerable to groupthink? Why or why not?
  • In your opinion, how did the collective group behaviors influence individual attitudes and the group’s effectiveness? Provide your overall analysis.

Write a 1,050- to 1,400-word paper incorporating your analysis with evidence to substantiate your conclusion.

Explain how your observations relate to research studies on norm formation, group norms, conformity, and/or social influence.

Integrate your findings with literature from the text, peer-reviewed journal articles, and other scholarly sources.

Format your paper according to APA guidelines.

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