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Observation Analysis Of The Types Of Groups At Langdon Cafeteria

1808 words - 8 pages

The behavior I observed was the types of groups people sat with when studying and socializing in the Lakefront on Langdon Cafeteria. I choose to observe this behavior for two reasons. One, as I was sitting in the Lakefront on Langdon Cafeteria Wednesday the 20th of November, I started to take record of the people around me. I spend a lot of time in Memorial Union doing homework, studying, meeting with people, eating lunch, and in general, relaxing. I find the combination of open study spaces, food options, and quiet study areas to be a great combination to increase productivity without feeling like being stuck in a stuffy library. I was curious about the interactions of people in this area and if they were similar to mine or if they were different. After about thirty minutes or so, I noticed that there were people sitting alone, and there were people sitting with groups. I began to notice that men were sitting with men and women were sitting with women, for the most part. I was unsure if this was an exemption or if this was a type of social norm and rule in the cafeteria. I initially wanted to observe the types of activities the people were doing in the Lakefront on Langdon Cafeteria, but at the end of my unstructured observation I realized it was difficult to determine exactly what actions people were performing and it was more interesting that people seemed to be segregating themselves based on gender. Two, I had never noticed this gender divide before and found it interesting. On most of my visits to the union, I am with at least one other person, sometimes they are the same gender and sometimes not. I was curious if this behavior I was noticing was also just a one-time-deal or if this was a recurring trend. For these reasons, I created my structured observation around the question of what types of groups people sit with at the Lakefront on Langdon Cafeteria. For the purposes of the assignment and observation, I wanted to know if de facto segregation was occurring based on gender, and decided to add race or ethnicity as another variable to determine if there was also a level of segregation on this variable.
The location I choose to observe, as stated, was the Lakefront on Langdon Cafeteria located in Memorial Union. This is a very large open, cafeteria style room located in the northeast corner of the center section of Memorial Union. It is directly connected to the Lakefront Cafeteria that serves various types of food. The cafeteria is a large, open room with over half of the walls being floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Lake Mendota. This room is not a quiet study room but is a place where people can eat, study, do homework, converse, and even watch various sports on the large flat-screen located in the northwest corner of the room. There are tables of various sizes located throughout the room. Tables line the wall of windows as well as fill the center of the room. Some tables seat upwards of eight people with the majority of tables...

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