Think of a social norm to violate. For the sake of this exercise, make sure it is a common social norm that most people
follow without thinking. Examples include walking on a certain side of the sidewalk, dressing a certain way, facing a
certain way in an elevator, etc. Remember that you can violate social norms in either a positive or negative way. Do
NOT do anything illegal or dangerous as part of the breaching activity! Also, make sure to act as if what you are
doing is totally normal. You should not tell others about the activity to avoid changing their behavior (the Hawthorne
effect).
Violate this norm over a long enough time to permit yourself to observe at least a few reactions from others. Jot down a
few notes about their reactions as soon as possible so that you can recall these reactions later. Note: If you are having
trouble getting anyone to react, try a different location, time of day, or different social norm.
After completing your activity, ponder the experience and prepare a 2-page reflection essay. You should address the
following in your essay:
1. How did you conduct your activity? (i.e. describe what you did, what norm you violated, etc.)
2. How did others react to you while you were violating the social norm? (give some examples)
3. What were the reactions of those who observed your actions? Did you feel stigmatized or labeled? How did their
reactions make you feel?
4. Based on your experiences, describe one advantage of participant observation as a method of studying social
norms?
5. Based on your experiences, describe one disadvantage of participant observation as a method of studying social norms?

Breaching Assignment