As of a little while ago, I finished the last large paper for the sociology writing class. The paper was about a little tiny observational study done on public appearance management (grooming and preening behaviors in humans). It is a very small sample, collected in two and a half hours one afternoon in the middle of a week, while sitting in a restaurant.
As it turned out, my figures are different from what the few studies of this activity have found. The others have shown women engaged in more of these behaviors than men and while in part that is somewhat dependent on the way the variables are operationalized, and the exact nature of appearance management being studied, none of the research that I located was done observing these kinds of behaviors in full public view. The most public of these by observation were done in the common grooming areas of public bathrooms (gender segregated) and by interview. The rest were mainly by questionnaire or interview and about appearance management, but not public appearance management.
I managed to obtain a reasonable scattering of five different age group categories, including a reasonable amount of men and women over 55 who came in for an early dinner and sat at tables and booths in the restaurant.
My figures show men as engaging in more total and more different kinds of these behaviors than women. Though the 18-24 year old female group was more prone to hair grooming behaviors (including smoothing, flipping over shoulders, pushing behind the ears and other hair touching, grooming behaviors), men were also observed doing this with a high frequency. Face touching or stroking, mouth wiping, clothing adjustments and other behaviors were part of my observations.
One of the things I found interesting, was that both sexes tended to increase the number of these behaviors if they were with people of the opposite sex, though men were just as likely with some of the behaviors to do them when they were alone. The opposite sex result was anticipated, though I tried to be objective when observing.
It was a very tiny study, one whose results don't really mean anything because it was so small, but it was interesting just the same.
AND it is so very good to be finished with all the figures, charts, field notes, analysis and discussion! It turned out to be longer than I figured it would be and the finished project plus abstract, references and transcribed field notes, comes to 32 pages. Hopefully I planned, analyzed and discussed the findings well enough to earn a decent grade.
I turn that in at 10 AM on Thursday morning, and then have the rest of the day to study for a final exam in my theories overview class at 4:30PM. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so I will not attempt to drive home on Los Angeles freeways. I am much safer and less likely to run into problems if I simply stay on campus. When I am finished with that multiple choice exam, I am finished for the quarter. YIPPEE!!!!! and then I get to go to the dentist, work on holiday things and catch up on cleaning-- BOO!! ;)