GSSC1159 GeorgeBrown Social Setting Analysis Field Study Assignment

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SOCIAL SETTING ANALYSIS: COFFEE SHOPS
Strange World of the Familiar / Sociology
STUDENTS’S NAMES ARE NOT DISCLOSED
Prof. Humayun Kabir
April 15, 2018
Social Setting: Coffee Shops – Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Neon Coffee
Main Interaction Ritual: Access Rituals
1. ORGANIZING AND DESCRIBING OBSERVATION
a. Social Setting
After observing the interior design, social interactions, surroundings of the three coffee
shops, they share several similar patterns. First, the servers of the three-coffee shop, especially
Starbucks and Cafe Neon, are nice to customers and encourage conversation with them. From the
line up, to the purchasing and to the pick up the coffee, the servers are always showing that they
are happy to meet everyone. We noticed secondly, that people tend to buy a coffee and sit for the
whole day. In Starbucks and Cafe Neon, half of the people are presumably students since they
are using a laptop for projects and assignments. About one third of the people are coming to chat
and hang out with friends. The remaining one sixth, just come by themselves. Most of them
came to the shop to read a book, wait for people or transit to come, or for checking cell phones
etc. In Tim Hortons, the people who stayed at the shop are slightly different from the people
from Starbucks and Neon. Most of the people stayed at the shop to hang out with friends, wait,
or read the newspaper. Also, the people who stay at Tim Hortons are generally older than the
people in Starbucks and Cafe Neon. Third, people in these three shops all tend to be quiet.
However, some people don’t care about others and speak loud in the shop, which happened more
frequently in Tim Hortons. During the one-hour observation, five groups of people in Tim
Hortons ignored others, spoke and laughed loud with their friends. In Starbucks, only two groups
of people spoke loudly, but they noticeably tried to keep their laughing and volume low. In Cafe
Neon, everyone was trying to keep their volume to a minimum and tried not to disturb others.
b. Interaction Rituals
It can be concluded that the main interaction ritual in these coffeeshops is the Access
Ritual (Ksenych, 2017); which can be defined as the transitions between persons to increase
access to another, mainly focussing on greetings and farewell – specifically, customer service. In
every coffeeshop, every interaction is based on a greeting, followed by placing one’s order; when
one pays and/or receives their coffee, a farewell is often said, although due to poor manners, this
last step does not always happen. There are additional rituals that take place, including
presentation rituals – such as compliments and invitations, because coffeeshops are often used as
meeting places; avoidance rituals – which would apply more to Starbucks and Cafe Neon, as
they are more commonly used as study spaces, and everyone tends to keep to themselves; and
ratification rituals – applying to the employees working there, who would naturally want their
status with the company to increase and improve the longer they work there, whose rituals will
include a promotion or performance meets, or even appreciation gestures. The patterns of coffee
shops, especially these, is give-and-take or service based; the purpose of going to a coffee shop is
to purchase something from a barista or clerk, choosing to either sit-in or take-out.
2. SOCIOLOGICAL DISCUSSION / ANALYSIS
a. Why Are People Regularly Doing This in These Settings in The Way They
Are?
People go to coffee shop for three major reasons. First, coffee shops are recognized by
people as a social place they can spend time together with friends, date, meet with business
partners etc. Also, the fact that coffee shops can offer people a social communication space with
less cost and easy access and long opportunities for staying, encourages people to go to coffee
shops regularly. The second reason is that coffee shops offer people, especially students, a place
they can do their personal work, like writing assignments or proposals, reading and enjoying
music with earphones. From the student aspect, studying at home or at library may constrain
their work efficiency. However, most of the students feel working at coffee shops can maximize
their efficiency while they feel comfortable. Thirdly, coffee shops are very convenient for
waiting for people or transit since it is cheap with a comfortable environment.
b. Is the Setting Organized in The Way It Is?
The major reason that the coffee shops are well organized, and people behave in similar
manners is the social norms. The social norms affect people and people will practice in similar
ways even there is no rules in the social setting. There is one study about how human being’s
acting in society shows that people tend to act kindly in the society (Sinatra, R, Szell, M,
Thurner, S, 2012). This means that people showing compassion is not just to be kind to someone,
they want to blend in the society to have a good social position or be recognized as a certain
class. Therefore, following the rules and behaving the same with people surrounding will be the
first step for the people in the coffee shops.
c. Social Norms
The social norms that govern coffee shop settings are similar between the three coffee
shops chosen for this report. Firstly, the laws and regulations that make coffee shops function
are as follows: approach the counter, order and pay for the order, wait patiently in line until your
order is ready, where it will be called out either by personalized name (i.e. Starbucks) or by order
contents (i.e. Tim Hortons). Secondly, the mores – or moral injunctions – that maintain coffee
shops is the principle of cleaning up after one’s self and being polite to the staff; in Cafe Neon
and Starbucks, it is more commonly practiced, where in Tim Hortons, a cheaper and more
generic coffee shop, it is common for tables to be left with garbage and for customers to be more
snappy and short tempered. The coffee shops are organized very similarly; they have the service
counter along with the kitchen, plus the lounge areas and the waiting space. It is an unsung rule
for the customers to stay on their side of the shop, though there is no strict wall or barrier
between customer and employee side of the service counter. In terms of backstage and frontstage
(Ksenych, 2017) personas, both the customers and the employees in coffee shops display them.
The employee’s front stage behaviour is positive customer service oriented, whereas their
backstage could reveal their hatred for coffee, or the fact that they’re having a terrible day;
customer’s front stage would show a very studious, organized and intelligent person, where the
backstage would reflect posing for the public eye and for their personal social media. Coffee
shops in the twentieth century have become extremely popular on social media, and in many
cases, the motivation for going out for coffee is to be able to upload a picture documenting the
event.
3. CONCLUSION
Through this social setting experiment, it can be concluded that all the three coffee shops
analyzed in this report offer North American Style coffee, a simple roast with dairy and flavour
inclusions. Tim Hortons is considered a fast-food restaurant, offering a slightly different
experience than Starbucks or Cafe Neon, which can be considered artisan coffee shops; Tim
Hortons is very templated and offers little alterations to the coffee itself, where Starbucks and
Cafe Neon can customize one’s coffee order to extremely specific tastes. People tend to behave
very similarly in every coffee shop; following the same social norms, including being respectful
and cleaning up after themselves. However, due to the different price points and different
clientele, there are some variations on that behaviour. Every coffee shop obeys the access ritual to certain degrees – of offering greetings and farewells, which best exemplifies customer service.
Coffee Shops are a social setting but are mostly used as a quiet study space; a space where many
people can gather and be social together while also remaining to themselves.
NOTES FROM OBSERVATIONS:
a.
Starbucks
American Style Coffee Shop
Common Features: Baristas/servers are extremely nice, promote
products, coffee, pastry, lunch, people come to chat, get a coffee
and sit for whole day, study, well branding, proper training

Interaction Rituals: Presentation Rituals, Avoidance Rituals,
Ratification Rituals, Access Rituals
Tim Hortons
• Canadian Style Coffee Shop
• Common Features: Baristas/servers are somewhat nice, promote
products, coffee, pastry, lunch, people come to chat, get a coffee
and sit for whole day, study, well branding, proper training


b.


c.
Interaction Rituals: Presentation Rituals, Ratification Rituals,
Access Rituals
Cafe Neon



Toronto Style Coffee Shop
Common Features: Baristas/servers are extremely nice, promote
products, coffee, pastry, lunch, people come to chat, get a coffee
and sit for whole day, study, well branding, proper training
Interaction Rituals: Presentation Rituals, Avoidance Rituals,
Ratification Rituals, Access Rituals
References
Ksenych, E. (Ed.). (2017). Strange World of the Familiar / Sociological Inquiry. Toronto:
Scholars Course pack.
Sinatra, R, Szell, M, Thurner, S. (2012, January 12). Emergence of Good Conduct,
Scaling and Zipf Laws in Human Behavioral Sequences in an Online World. PLOS ONE.
Retrieved from: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0029796
Evaluation & Grading Criteria
SOCIAL SETTING ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT (25%)
GSSC-1159: STRANGE WORLD OF THE FAMILIAR-SOCIOLOGY
Winter 2019, George Brown College
Professor: Humayun Kabir
mdhumayun.kabir@georgebrown.ca
The assignment, which is 25% worth of your final grade, will be evaluated based on the following criteria
and grading scale. Meeting the criteria outlined in this document will ensure your higher academic
performance. Read the document carefully and ensure that your paper meets the grading criteria.
Rubric for Research Essay
Criteria
0-2
Novice
Does not meet/satisfy
requirement, needs
major improvements
Description of the social
setting refers to the
physical and symbolic
contexts of the activities
and interactions
Description of the
social setting is vague
and unclear; major
areas of improvement
are identified
Scale
2-4
Competent
Mostly meets
requirements, needs
several or minor
improvement
Description of the social
setting is detail and
includes physical and
symbolic contexts;
however, there are rooms
for improvement in
several/some areas
4-5
Proficient
Meets all the
requirements & areas of
improvement are very
few or none
Description of the social
setting is sociologically
meaningful that
includes interpretation
of physical and symbolic
contexts; areas of
improvement are none
or almost nonexistent.
Rubric_Social Setting Analysis_Humayun_GBC
2
Organization & Structure
of the Paper refers to the
logical organization
including introduction,
methodology, analysis and
concluding parts with or
without subheading, and
transition between
paragraphs, and to the
relation between
introduction and concluding
part
There is a lack of
evidence of
appropriate
organization,
structure, and logical
flow of the paper;
major areas of
improvement are
identified
The paper follows a clear
logical flow, structure,
and relation to
appropriate thematic
heading and subheading
and with a clear
relationship between
introduction and
conclusion; however,
there are rooms for
improvement in
several/some areas
The paper follows a
clear logical flow,
structure, and relation
to appropriate thematic
heading and
subheading and with a
clear relationship
between introduction
and conclusion; areas of
improvement are none
or almost nonexistent.
Evidences of Research
refers to the usage of
collected or documented
observed data of the social
setting and relevant
academic sources if
necessary
Lack of evidence of
research is evident,
and researcher’s
research on
his/herself in the
social setting is not
well reflected; major
areas of improvement
are identified
Evidence of research is
evident as the paper
includes relevant research
data collected/observed
during the research;
however, there are rooms
for improvement in
several/some areas
Evidence of research is
evident and well
articulated as the paper
includes observed data
of the research and
relevant academic
sources; areas of
improvement are none
or almost nonexistent.
Sociological inquiry &
analysis refers to the
application of relevant
sociological concepts and
theories in the evaluation
and analysis of the
Lack of sociological
perspective is evident
as the paper does not
relate to relevant
sociological concepts
& theories in the
The paper provides a
sociological perspective
by applying and relating
relevant sociological
concepts & theories to the
analysis, though there are
The paper provides a
sociological perspective
by applying and relating
relevant sociological
concepts & theories to
the analysis, and areas
Rubric_Social Setting Analysis_Humayun_GBC
3
interaction and activities in
the setting
analysis; major areas
of improvement are
identified
rooms for improvement in
several/some areas
of improvement are
none or almost
nonexistent.
Generalization refers to
the generalize the
observations and analysis
of the paper into patterned
form that is sociologically
and theoretically insightful
The paper lacks
generalization of the
observed interactions
and the setting
contexts leading to
sociological and
theoretical insights;
major areas of
improvement are
identified
The paper combines all
the observed data and
analysis into a general
description leading to
sociological and
theoretical insights,
though there are rooms
for improvement in
several/some areas
Generalization of the
observed data and
analysis leads to
sociological and
theoretical insights, and
areas of improvement
are none or almost
nonexistent.
Total
Comments & Feedback:
25 (25%)
GSSC-1159_Social Setting Assignment/Humayun_GBC
GSSC 1159: Winter 2019
School of Liberal Arts & Science
George Brown College
STRANGE WORLD OF THE FAMILIAR-SOCIOLOGY
Guideline & Instruction:
Assignment-2: Social Setting Analysis-Field Study
______________________________________________________________
Professor: Humayun Kabir
Email: mdhumayun.kabir@georgebrown.ca
Office: 408B, 200 King St. East
Submission Deadline:
• April 7, Sunday Midnight
Assignment Nature:
• Individual/in Pair
Length of the paper:
• Not exceeding 1250 words
Where to Submit:
• Upload on Blackboard
Tasks:
1) carefully observe three examples of a specific kind of social setting;
2) combine your observations into a description of a) the social setting and b) what typically occurs
within it by focusing on a social role or on interaction patterns; and
3) sociologically discuss or analyze what you found.
Some Examples of Specific Kinds of Social Settings
• courtrooms
• fast food restaurants
• hotel lobbies
• street cars
• mall food courts
Note:


• high-end women’s clothing stores
• budget supermarkets
• dollar stores
• bingo halls
• upscale franchise coffee shops
• banks
• ‘sports’ bars
• community libraries
• neighbourhood coffee shops
• clubs
You may have your topic approved before beginning the project.
There is no direct human involvement in the field study and therefore, you do not need to
survey and ask questions to anyone. The field study is based on observation.
1. The Field Work
i)
Select a specific kind of social setting to study (such as those listed above).
2
ii) Visit three examples of that social setting as a participant observer. You can choose the same
setting in different places or time period.
iii) Carefully observe: a) the common features of the setting, and b) what typically goes on
in it in terms of a social role and status, hierarchy/division of labours (more broadly social
structure) and interaction patterns.
a) The Setting: pay detailed attention to what is commonly found in the three examples of the
setting and the significance of those similarities.
b) The Social Position: list the main positions in the setting, but focus on one social position
using the Goffman handout on role and status rights/privileges
and Interaction Patterns: focus on the interaction patterns occurring within that setting
as well as the norms, beliefs and values governing these patterns.
Focus your observations on what is typical or recurring in the various examples, including what
might first seem to be insignificant details. Do not get distracted by differences or engage in
comparisons, although it is okay to note significant variations in your report.
2. Organizing and Describing Your Observations
Combine your observations of the three different examples into a single general description or
typical profile of what you found regarding a) the social setting, and b) the social position you
focused on and the interaction patterns you observed.
2A. The Social Setting:
There may be many differences among the settings but your interest is in what is common, shared,
or recurring. The richer your description of the setting the better because the setting provides a
physical and symbolic context for what goes on in it. This means you should discuss the symbolic
significance of what you concretely observed here or in a later section.
2B. A Social Position:
There may be a few main social positions in the setting you selected. List them. But describe the
role expectations and status associated with only ONE social position in detail. Social roles are
complex. Use the Goffman handout to help guide and organize your description.
And Interaction Patterns:
If your emphasis is on interaction patterns, focus on a set of recurring patterns of action and
interaction among participants that you found significant. You will also want to articulate the
particular norms, beliefs and values governing the patterns and being expressed through them.
3. Sociological Discussion/Analysis
The aim is to illuminate or understand the setting and what’s going on in it by inquiring into the
different levels of meaning of how the setting is organized and what’s going on in it sociologically.
Role performances and interactional patterns fulfill obvious practical goals as well as less
3
obvious cultural purposes or social functions. So you need to ask probing questions about what is
there and being done, and about the way everything has been organized.
Most things that are regularly done don’t really have to be done. And almost everything that’s done
could actually be done otherwise. So why are people regularly doing this in these settings in the
particular way they are? Why is the setting organized in the way it is?
Discussing means connecting what you found to sociological concepts, research, or theories
covered in the course or that you’ve found by researching resources outside the course.
Analyzing means drawing on sociological concepts, research and theory to advance a theoretic
insight or idea that you have into what’s going on and why, and developing that insight or idea in
detail by accounting for the various parts of what you generally observed in the setting and in
what’s going on there.
4. Conclusion and References/Resources
Conclude by discussing what you learned, if anything, from doing this study. List any references
you directly quote or resources you use in carrying out or writing up your project in a separate
section at the end.
Working By Yourself or With Another
The project can be done by one or two students. In the case of two students, since each student
will share the same grade it is expected each will do a similar amount of work. Both members of a
team must be involved in doing the fieldwork and writing the paper.
Two-student papers require a sign off page at the end of the paper in which each student briefly
states his/her contribution to researching and writing up the project, and signs off.
The Written Paper
The written paper should: be double-spaced; not exceeding 1250 words; preferably wordprocessed; adhere to accepted rules and conventions of English grammar and composition; and
demonstrate sound argumentation, appropriate use of evidence, and responsible use of rhetoric.
The discussion/analysis should demonstrate an understanding of sociological concepts and theory.
Outside resources, if used, should be properly noted and referenced.
Submit the paper on Blackboard with a cover page (as well as a sign-off sheet, if two students are
involved). Do not use any color front.
Plagiarism and Falsifying Authorship
Plagiarism occurs when a student(s) hands in as his/her/their own work, material that consists of, in
whole or in substantial part, someone else’s words. Plagiarism will result in a grade of zero for that
assignment. If two people present work that has actually only been done and written up by one
member, that will be considered to be falsification of authorship and will be treated as plagiarism.
4
All concerned, including the person who did the work, will receive zero.
Relevant Articles in E. Ksenych, GSSC 1159 / LSSC 1204: Strange World of the Familiar /
Sociological Inquiry, CSPI Coursepack, 2017.
Observing and the Participant Observation Research Method

Chapter-42: Ksenych and Liu, “Observing” discusses observation as a research method and
how to do an observational field project.
Doing Qualitative Sociological Research

Chapter-9: Schwalbe, “Inventing the Social World” provides a general introduction to
studying the social world sociologically.
Examples of Articles Topicalizing Setting, Role, Status and/or Interaction Patterns
The following articles involve describing the social setting:
• Chapter-5: Reiter, “Life in a Fast Food Factory”;
For interaction patterns,
• Chapter-15: Geiser, “Goffman: Rituals of Interaction”,
For social position with its role expectations and status,
• Chapter-17: Beagan, “Even If I Don’t Know What I’m Doing I Can Make It Look Like I
Know What I’m Doing”: Becoming a Doctor in the 1990’s”.
Some other articles which involve either role performances or interaction patterns are:
• Chapter-18A and 18B: Richer, “The Issue of Educational Opportunity”
• Chapter-1: Boggs and Kornblum, “Social Interaction in Times Square”
——————————————Adapted from Ed Ksenych

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