Family Observation Paper

Family Observation Paper Assignment Instructions


For this assignment you will conduct a family observation so you can apply your knowledge of family systems theory. You may observe a real family or a family sitcom to observe the family dynamics.

Instructions Your observation of a family should last at least one hour, therefore if you choose a sitcom, you will need to watch two episodes. Some examples of family sitcoms that may be appropriate: Fresh Prince, Full House, Fuller House, Family Ties, etc.

Take notes on your observations. Divide your note taking into 3 sections: speaker, content, process observations. After your observation you will then write a three-page summary of your observations, with a cover page, and a reference page, for a total of five pages.

Include at least three scholarly references to support your observations from a family systems approach. These references can include your textbooks, scholarly articles or other textbooks. Scholarly references should not be websites, trade books, or opinions.

When conducting the observation keep the following in mind:

Be alert for expressions, body movements, interruptions, topic changes, and times that one family member disconfirms another by ignoring, changing the topic, disparaging the speaker, or bringing in a third party.

Some questions to consider:

  • Who sits close to whom?
  • Who’s farthest away from whom?
  • Does this proximity and distance reflect the level of verbal involvement between members or not?
  • Who talks to whom?
  • What is the emotional climate in the family, what they talk about and the way they interact during periods of calm versus periods of tension?
  • Track a few of the process dimensions during the observation and then review the tape to conduct a more thorough analysis of the interactions.
  • What evidence was there for homeostatic mechanisms, negative feedback loops, complementarity, what family rules did you observe, any paradoxical communications?

Apply your knowledge of family systems theory to analyze their observations, with particular attention to various pairings — parents with each child, parents with each other, etc.

Your paper should include the following aspects, which will also serve as good ideas for headings:

  1. Introduction of family (not to be confused with the introduction of the paper)
  2. Content of the observation – provide the facts of the observation (quotes of things said during the observation would be appropriate here)
  3. Processing of the observation – how does your textbook reading provide additional insight into your observation, specifically family systems should be addressed (scholarly references should be included in this section)

Make sure you include a conclusion to wrap everything up nicely.

This paper should be written in current APA formatting, utilizing the professional guidelines.

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Last Updated on November 20, 2020

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