Observation and Reaction Report

Faculty: John Clark/clarkj@fiu.edu

Observation and Reaction Report

Length:                   1600 to 2000 words (about 5-6 pages, double-spaced, using a common font)

Due Date:             16 days after the visit to the observation site (on a Monday)

Your assignment is to make careful observations about one of the neighborhoods/areas that we will visit during one of our semester field excursions, and to reflect on these observations.  The assignment is not a research assignment, requiring you to investigate anything about the given neighborhood.  (Some post observation research is permissible, however.)  We want you to make observations about such things as the relationships between the people in the neighborhood, how people are relating to the natural environment, how the architecture of the neighborhood affects your and residents’ mood/feelings, and the general “vibe” of the neighborhood.  Are the people of the neighborhood homogenous in terms of race, ethnicity, language use, economic class, etc., or are they diverse?  These are only some of the kinds of observations you might make; we hope that you will make observations that may surprise us.

Second, we want you to reflect on these observations in writing.  Does the physical lay-out of the neighborhood alienate you and others, or make them feel part of part of a community?  If the visit is to a “rural” area within our urban environment, how do you think the presence of human beings has shaped the natural space? Do you feel depressed or up-lifted by the environment, and why? What sense do you get about the relationships between more wealthy and more impoverished people in the neighborhood?  Do have you have a sense of security in the neighborhood, or not?  If you feel threatened, why so?

We wish to receive essays that are evenly divided among our observation sites.  Accordingly, you will have the chance to sign up for one of the observation sites on-line.  Once the slots for a given space have filled up, then it will be closed, and you will have to choose another observation site.  First come, first served.

Your paper will be graded primarily for the quality of the observations you make and the reactions you have to them. Yet, the paper should also be grammatical, well-organized, and comprehensible.  You should polish your paper with the help of fellow students and others, including the FIU Writing Center, as you prefer.  Individual sentence should be composed with appropriate word choice and syntax; paragraphs should be coherent; the succession of paragraphs should flow naturally, one from the preceding (i.e., again, the paper should be well organized).  Approximately 30 percent of the paper will be graded on grammar and presentation, since the quality of the observations and reactions is difficult to assess if the presentation is poor.

The paper should be approximately equally divided between the observations and the reactions.

ALTERNATIVE OBSERVATION SITE:  If you prefer, you can visit some other location in Miami-Dade County on your own, and carry out the assignment.  In that case, your paper will be due on 14 November 2014.