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Ethnographic and Observational Research

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How to carry out ethnographic work. Different ethical issues are covered and good practice guides are discussed.

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Ethnographic and Observational Research

  1. 1. Ethnographic and Observational Research
  2. 2. Introduction to Ethnography Ethnographic Topics and Field Sites Data Collection in the Field Focus on Observation Basic Ethnographic Analysis
  3. 3. Introduction to Ethnography
  4. 4. A description of people
  5. 5. • Ethnographic Method • Involves the collection of information about the material products, social relationships, beliefs, and values of a community • Ethnographic Product • Is a report that incorporates the information collected by the method into a holistic description of the culture of the community
  6. 6. A search for Patterns
  7. 7. Ethnography is the art and science of describing a human group - its institutions, interpersonal behaviours, material productions, and beliefs Ethnographic researchers are primarily concerned with the routine, everyday lives of the people they study
  8. 8. Field Based Personalised Multifactorial
  9. 9. Long Term Inductive Dialogic Holistic
  10. 10. Participant observation is not a method in itself, but rather a personal style adopted by field-based researchers who, having been accepted by the study community, are able to use a variety of data collection techniques to find out about the people and their way of life
  11. 11. Ethnographic Topics and Field Sites
  12. 12. Developing people’s own perspectives
  13. 13. Define a research problem Ethnographic research is used to…
  14. 14. Define a research problem Ethnographic research is used to… that cannot immediately be expressed in if x, then y teams
  15. 15. Identify participants in a social setting Ethnographic research is used to…
  16. 16. Document a Process Ethnographic research is used to…
  17. 17. Design setting-appropriate measures Ethnographic research is used to…
  18. 18. • Your emotional state • Your physical and mental health • Your areas of competence and incompetence • Your ability to set aside preconceptions about people, behaviours, or social and political situations What is…
  19. 19. • The issue you are exploring is likely to be seen in a clear fashion • The site itself is comparable to others that have been studies but not one that has itself been over-studied • There is a minimum of ‘gatekeeping’ obstacles • You will not be more of a burden than you are worth to the community Select a site where:
  20. 20. • Don’t assume that communities closer to home or with cultures most similar to your own will be easier to work with • Don’t take too much for granted • Don’t allow yourself to be captured by the first people that make you feel welcome • Make sure that the people that guide you around the community are respected and liked • Make every effort to be helpful Generating Rapport
  21. 21. • Take the time to explain your purposes • Do not be afraid to express your own point of view • Make sure that you recognise and are respectful of social conventions of the community • Inform people about the parameters of your observation • If you are working as part of a research team, are sure that you don’t become your own ‘group’ Generating Rapport
  22. 22. Data Collection in the Field
  23. 23. Participant observation is not itself a data collection technique, but rather the role adopted by an ethnographer to facilitate his or her collection of data 1. Observation 2. Interviewing 3. Archival Research
  24. 24. Observation is the at of perceiving the activities and interrelationships of people in the field setting through the senses of the researcher
  25. 25. Statement about the particular setting e.g. school, home church, store Enumeration of the participants number, general characteristics, eg. age, gender Descriptions of the participants rendered in as nearly objective a form as possible: ‘the man wore a torn, dirty pair of jeans’, not ‘the man looked poor’ Chronology of events Description of the physical setting and all material objects involved use great detail, take nothing for granted Descriptions of behaviours and interactions avoiding interpretations “The man was weeping and repeatedly struck his head with his fist’, not ‘the man looked deranged’ Records of conversations or other verbal interactions as near to verbatim if possible
  26. 26. Interviewing is a process of directing a conversation so as to collect information
  27. 27. • Try to avoid interjecting yourself too much into the narrative • Try to monitor and understand non-verbal cues • Spend some time in ice-breaking chit chat • Personalise the interview! • Accept hospitality when offered
  28. 28. Archival research is the analysis of materials that have been stored for research, service, and other purposes both official and unofficial
  29. 29. • Maps • Records of births, deaths, marriages, real estate transactions • Census, tax, and voting records • Specialised surveys • Court proceedings • Minutes of meetings
  30. 30. There are something to be aware of when conducting archival research: • Archived data is not always unbiased - who collected it, for what purpose? What might have been left out? • Computerised databases are not free from error. The data might have been transcribed properly, but was it right to begin with? • Physical or logistical issues in working with data stored in inconvenient or physically unattractive places
  31. 31. Good ethnographic research relies on a composition of observational, interview, and archival sources.
  32. 32. Focus on Observation
  33. 33. Observer Participant
  34. 34. Complete Observer • Detached as possible from the setting being studied • Observers are neither seen or noticed • Can be seen as deception Cahill (1985) study on the human interaction within public bathrooms (…wtf!?)
  35. 35. Observer-As-Participant • Researcher conducts observations for brief periods to set the scene for interviews etc, • Research is known to the ‘subjects’ but only as a researcher Fox (2001) study on self-change among violent offenders
  36. 36. Participant-As-Observer • More fully integrated into the life of the group and is engaged with the people • Seen as a friend or as a neutral researcher Anderson (1990) study on mixed race communities
  37. 37. Complete Participant • Researchers becomes a participant and disappears into the setting of the world they are in • Going Native • A native may receive better rapport with those they are working with
  38. 38. Observational Process Site Selection Gain Entrée Begin Observing If in a team, training may need to occur first Take notes
 (on everything) Develop Patterns Continue until theoretical saturation
  39. 39. Basic Ethnographic Analysis
  40. 40. • Descriptive Analysis is the process of taking the stream of data and breaking it down into its component parts; what patterns, regularities, or themes emerge? • Theoretical Analysis is the process of figuring out how those component parts fit together; in other words, how can we explain the existence of patterns in the data, or how do we account for the perceived regularities?
  41. 41. Patterns • Consider each statement that was made by someone in the community you are studying • Was it made to others in everyday conversation? • Was it elicited by you in an interview? • For each of the above, consider if it was: • Volunteered by the person • Directed in some way by you
  42. 42. Patterns • Consider each activity that you observed. • Did it occur when you were along with a single individual • Did it occur when you were in the presence of a group • For each of the above, consider if it was: • Volunteered by the person • Directed in some way by you
  43. 43. Patterns • Patterns can be discovered though: • Emic Perspective (how do the people under study understand things?) • Etic Perspective (how can the researcher link data from the community being studied to similar case studies conducted elsewhere?
  44. 44. Analysis Framework • There isn’t a clearly set way to do analysis (this is beginning to be a theme here…) • A lot of it is about picking a process that works for you • But here are some suggestions…
  45. 45. Analysis Framework Data Management Overview Reading Clarification of Categories Presentation of Data Classificatio n Descriptive Comparison Table Hierarchical Tree Metaphors Hypothesis Keep clearly organised field notes, these can either be computerised or can be pen and paper. No method is better than the other, just depends on how you like to work
  46. 46. Analysis Framework Data Management Overview Reading Clarification of Categories Presentation of Data Classificatio n Descriptive Comparison Table Hierarchical Tree Metaphors Hypothesis Read through your notes before beginning with formal analysis. There may be things that you have forgotten since first collecting the data
  47. 47. Analysis Framework Data Management Overview Reading Clarification of Categories Presentation of Data Classification Descriptive Comparison Table Hierarchical Tree Metaphors Hypothesis Begin by describing what you hav seen in your notes and then start to take apart the narrative and identify categories or themes
  48. 48. Analysis Framework Data Management Overview Reading Clarification of Categories Presentation of Data Classification Descriptive Comparison Table Hierarchical Tree Metaphors Hypothesis Present your data in an easy to understand manner. Matrix, tree, metaphor and hypothesis approaches are all valid
  49. 49. Introduction to Ethnography Ethnographic Topics and Field Sites Data Collection in the Field Focus on Observation Basic Ethnographic Analysis
  50. 50. Information in this presentation was based on…
  • tanishiapride

    Aug. 2, 2018

How to carry out ethnographic work. Different ethical issues are covered and good practice guides are discussed.

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