Communication Field Observation

You will observe two to three (2-3) individuals involved in interpersonal communication. Observe them in a location where you expect them to stay for a while. You need to observe them long enough to gather the information needed for this assignment.

  • Be sure to pick people you do not know
  • Avoid letting the people know they are being observed
  • Do not interact with the people you are observing
  • Think about what you know from our textbook regarding nonverbal communication. Researchers state more than 60% of the meaning of a message is communicated nonverbally.

    For this assignment, consider what you can decode from the nonverbal interpersonal interactions you observe and answer the following questions. Keep the headings and outlined numbers and letters in place.


    Describe, specifically and in detail, the situation you are observing. Include ALL of the following information:

    1. Context

    a. Where did you observe the nonverbal communication interaction?

    b. What fundamental interpersonal needs might be met in this interaction? (See Schutz?s FIRO Theory p. 117)

    c. Explain, in detail, why you think so.

    2. Individuals

    a. How many people were involved?

    b. What are their genders and how is this expressed?

    c. What can you interpret about their culture, co-culture (including observable stigmas)?

    d. Are they same or different from one another?

    e. Describe what you know (using terminology from the book) that helps you interpret the cultural and gender differences/ similarities. Bold the concepts used from the book.

    3. Nonverbal Communication

    a. What nonverbal behaviors did you observe?

    b. Bodily Movement /Proxemics

    i. Gestures

    ii. Posture

    iii. body location/physical orientation {side by side or face to face}

    iv. arms, hand placement

    v. leg and feet positioning

    c. Facial Expressions

    i. emotions expressed (smile, frown, etc.)

    ii. eye contact

    iii. forehead

    iv. mouth

    d. Touch (Haptics)

    i. playful, supportive, acknowledging?

    e. Artifactual communication

    i. Clothing

    ii. makeup

    iii. hairstyle,

    iv. personal adornments

    4. Emotion

    a. What emotions are present?

    i. How can you tell?

    5. Relationship

    a. What do you think their relationship to one another might be?

    i. Why?

    b. How might their gender and/or culture affect the interaction you?ve observing? (Use terminology from the book and bold the concepts.)

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