Critical Thinking Journal Guidelines-Social Psychology
The critical thinking journal provides an opportunity to apply the concepts of social psychology to your everyday observations. The purpose of the journal is to analyze your environment through the eyes of a social psychologist. Each student will create a journal in which you will record your observations of othersâ€™ behavior, apparent attitudes, thoughts and feelings, as well as your own thoughts feelings and behaviors, as they relate to social psychology. The journal entry will note the observation/example, then explain how these observations are relevant or exemplify concepts in social psychology. For an A paper, there must be a minimum of 3 concepts/theories integrated and discussed. While there is no page minimum or page limit, an A paper tends to be roughly 2.5-3 pages.
The purpose if the assignment is to challenge yourself to begin to think like a social psychologist, to look at the world around you and ask yourself how social psychological analyses have the potential to help you better understand what you observe. You will use the journal to record any observations of other peopleâ€™s behaviors, apparent attitudes and apparent feelings as well as your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and explain how these observations are relevant to social psychology, or HOW they exemplify social psychological concepts. Explain them to me. Pretend I don’t know anything about social psychology and explain how and why your observations demonstrate social psychology.
For example, you might go to a restaurant for lunch and analyze your social environment–what social psychological concepts or theories do you see demonstrated? Take note of where people sit. Are people grouped by gender, race or group affiliation? Are physically attractive individuals surrounded by similarly attractive friends?
Analyze your family or friends at a family gathering or event. What social psychological concepts or theories do you see? Explain them to me. Pretend I don’t know anything about social psychology and explain how and why your observations demonstrate social psychology.
Go to work; what social psychological concepts or theories do you see? Observe group dynamics at work. What do you notice about leadership styles?
Go to a party; what social psychological concepts or theories do you see? You might observe a friend behaving inconsistently with his/her attitude or realize that you have been rationalizing and justifying your own behavior. You might note peopleâ€™s attempts at affiliation and intimacy. Or, you may observe the effects of alcohol on peopleâ€™s aggressiveness or deviant behavior.
Turn on reality TV or the news; what social psychological concepts or theories do you see? You may also use other media sources such as a television, movie, magazine or newspaper. For example, you can collect articles, editorials, cartoons, etc. and use this example to explain the concept from class or the readings. Make sure you note: What does social psychological theory state about these topics? If so, what do they say? Are your observations compared to or in contrast with what social psychological theory states? Explain why your observation is an illustration of that concept.
Read the sample journal entries provided for you in the critical thinking journal help module. For an A paper, there must be a minimum of 3 concepts/theories integrated and discussed in the journal in order to meet content requirements.
Be sure to review the rubric to learn how it will be evaluated.
Critical Thinking Journal Rubric JournalRubricSummer.pdf
Each journal will be evaluated separately based on 3 categories.
- Item/Observation: thoroughly explaining the item/observation/feeling that is the subject of the journal entry. You should explain with more than adequate detail so that it is clear to someone who did not observe the event. In addition, the item is a correct example of the theory concept you are asserting. College level grammar and writing style evident.
- Theory/Concept: thoroughly explaining the concept, theory or social psychological item. Define and explain the term or the theory from the textbook/class that is discussed within the journal entry, with comprehensive detail so that it is more than just a one line descriptor. It is encouraged that you discuss multiple concepts that are related to the observation/item. Be sure to define them all, explain them and be certain that they are accurately portrayed in your observation/example. College level grammar and writing style evident.
- Integration: thoroughly explaining how and why your observations or events are a demonstration of the social psychological concepts. If a person read your critical thinking journal and has never completed Social Psychology 023, they would be able to understand how your observations are applications of important social psychological concepts and theories because you have explained it so well. An â€œoutstanding” integration incorporates more than 3 concepts/theories with sophisticated analysis, using details and support from your observation. College level grammar and writing style evident.