Sociology: Assignment 2- Field Observation at Starbucks
Research Design, Problem, Hypothesis and Operational Variables
Research Question: What symbols in one’s environment stimulate involvement as a customer?
Hypothesis: People, color of buildings, quality of products sold create identity among customers forming a social group with common interests.
Problem: This Starbucks that was visited is typical of all stores across the country. A menu board was mounted. It displayed traditional brand drinks such as Coke, Fanta and Pepsi. Special drinks also special foods that are on sale for the day. There were six tables for patrons to enjoy their goodies and interact with each other. The floors seem to need cleaning. However, settings where sugar, drink additives and flavor options are available was well organized and clean. Background music seemed enchanting; specially arranged to keep customers comfortable and in a romantic mood. From a social group, behavioral theoretical perspective, while these people may not meet regularly in this environment they maintain a bound of friendship being customers in the building. The symbol coffee and Starbucks are common to their social interaction. As such, the unifying observation is the desire to purchase coffee and other food items sold by this establishment (Zarefsky, 2014)..
Research Design: This would be a field observation using deductive reasoning. It is also known as a top-down logical thinking mechanism. The researcher enters the field with a hypothesis/ research questions. Questions of interest that need to be answered during the face to face interaction would be previously written and pretested before entering the field environment. During the observation process, even though there would be partial participant interaction, the observer must apply the law of detachment in creating objectivity to conclusions derived from the study. With this law one conditional statement is made, and a hypothesis (P) is created A conclusion (Q) is deduced from the statement/ hypothesis. P- Conditional Statements; P – Hypothesis and Q – Conclusion (PPQ) (Zarefsky, 2014).
Description of Observations:
This observation was conducted at approximately 1:20 pm on a sunny afternoon here in Woodbridge Virginia, on January 31st, 2017. The site was Starbucks in a local strip mall. The description would be aligned to symbolic interactionist sociological theory, norms, roles, status, and collective behavior evaluated during my one hour of assessment the patrons entering , leaving and interacting with each other. This mall is located in a middle-class neighborhood and contains many stores such as Safeway, Radio Shack, GNC, PetSmart, and a PostNet. There is also a local local liquor store culturally known as in Virginia, as an ABC store.
Patterns in behavior among persons entering the Starbucks store varied among taking a seat at first, waiting in line to order and pay for items, ordering the items desired; paying for them with either cash or credit; taking a seat after purchasing the item; interacting with cashiers and other customers in the building. Customers who ate in the building discarded their trash while take-out customers left with their packages. The observed age ranges of customers entering the building could be estimated from 18 to 70 years of age. There were couples accompanied by children ranging from ages 10 months to 12 years old.
Energy in the room was very high aligning with the temperature outside. Customers were happy and excited to receive the items they bought and were being served. Two ladies about the ages of 39 and 42 were heard commenting on the excellent taste of Starbucks coffee vowing to always be a customer. Most customers were dressed casually either a pants with a top covering the entire body or drees of various lengths. However, a couple about the ages of 23 and 33 years old respectively, entered, the building wearing business suits. Apparently, they had just lef wwork stopping by to enjoy some Starbucks coffee.
Employees formed a distinct group away from customers and could be easily differentiated by their uniforms. The collective behavior of this group was different from customers. There were three (3) cashiers and about five (5) persons distributing items that were purchased. Two (2) employees were observed cleaning, which involved sweeping the floor, emptying bins and clearing remains from tables used by customers. Coffee were received
Theoretical Application /Analysis:
Group/collective behavior theory and symbolic interactionism are two theoretical concepts that can be utilized in explaining the behavior patterns observed during the evaluation at Starbucks. Group behavior theories explain reasons for people desiring to function as groups. Starbucks is a group business and employees functioned as a group with a common purpose and goal that of serving customers. This is a characteristic of group behavior and could be identified during my observation (Rohall, Milkie, M & Lucus. 2014). Symbolic interactions theory advances that human beings must be understood from the perspective of a being social person and thinking being. Besides, human action occurs in response to what is happening in the current environment ( Hall, 2007).
Hall, P. (2007). Symbolic Interaction. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology.
Rohall, D, Milkie, M., Lucus. J. (2014). Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives (3rd ed).
Upper Saddle River. NJ. Pearson Education International
Zarefsky, D. (2014). Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning Parts I and II, The