Adolescent Observation

This naturalistic observations should focus on adolescent or pre-adolescent (age 10 and up) peer group. These observations can be of peers fight, playing, talking, working together. The observed behavior must be social, involving two or more children or youth, and must be focused on the interactions between children or youth (not on the interactions between children or youth and adults). These observations should be naturalistic, meaning that those being observed do not know they are being observed or their behaviors don’t appear to be influenced by the observation.

The running record technique will be used. In other words, students will take notes of the behaviors they observe as they are occurring, trying to capture as much as they can. These rough notes should be turned in as the last page of your paper. Students will report on 30 minutes of naturalistic observations of each observation.

These papers should be brief 2-3 pages in length (not including the running record for the observation). Each of these short papers must:

1)         First, describe in detail a developmentally normative / appropriate behavior observed in the world. These behaviors can focus on developmental behavior observable at any stage of life after birth. These observations can be made of kids on the street, family members at a holiday celebration, a movie or tv show. For example, you might observe a conversation on the tv show “Modern Family” that relates to the stresses and pressures of parenting teens. The description of these behaviors should be complete enough to be able to identify the developmentally normative nature of the behavior and should include a description of the social and cultural context in which the behavior occurred. (1-1.5 pages)

2)          Next, connect the observed behavior(s) to either a developmental theory. What developmental theory have we touched on in class that relates to the behavior? Following our example of “Modern Family”, you might relate the stresses and pressures of parenting teens to the role transitions that parents and teens are going through as described in Erikson’s psychosocial stages. (1/2 page)

3)     Third, connect the observed behavior to scholarly empirical research. What is some related research that touches on this topic of development or otherwise influences how we might interpret this behavior? Again, with our example of stresses related to parenting teens, you could do a quick search through the library website or Google scholar for “parent”, “adolescent”, and “stress”. A quick search using these terms found Laursen, Coy, & Collins’ 1998 meta-analysis on parent-child conflict in adolescence. In a couple sentences describe what the research found and how it relates to what you observed for part 1. (1/2 page)

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