Field Research

1
Still Life
Observe and describe the objects you can

see on the table.

2
Physical Description
Select a section of this room which is

immediately across from where you are
sitting. Describe this...
Physical Description


Discussion
How did you approach this exercise?
How is this exercise like the previous?

Unlike?
...
The research tree: summarising
approaches

Gay, L.R. & Airasian, P. (2003).
5
Ethnography


Ethnography is the art and science of
describing a human group – its
institutions, interpersonal behaviours...
Ethnography as Method








Field based
Personalised
Multifactorial (triangulation)
Long-term
Inductive
Dialogic
...
Ethnography as Product
Narratives which draw the reader into a
vicarious experience of the community within
which the rese...
Research Design: cyclical
Collecting
ethnographic data

Selecting an
ethnographic
project

Making an
ethnographic record

...
Theoretical Orientations







Symbolic interactionism
Feminism
Marxism
Critical theory
Cultural studies
postmodern...
Symbolic interactionism


Sociological school which has been
influential in ethnographic studies. Its
principle interests...
Field research


Two principle methods of field research;
Participant observation
interviewing



In both, the researc...
Access


Definition: gaining permission to carry out
the field research in a particular
social/institutional setting
Ini...
Selection strategies: sampling
events

people

Processes

Social
situation

Sites

Time
periods

Which aspect of reality d...
Selection strategies: example


A participant observation study exploring
how people cross the road.
Locations: which ro...
Participant observation




The researcher ‘participates’ in the situation
The researcher primarily collects material t...
Collecting data: making observations

Descriptive
observation

Focused
observation

Selective observation

17
Descriptive observation


Aims to describe the social situation
The setting
People
events




Understanding context ...
Focussed/Selective observation


Focussed





Limiting the scope – focussing
Made after analysing descriptive data
The...
Description


Task: To describe a person sitting across from
you, either one you know or a stranger.



Time: 15 mins
Se...
Description: Feedback


What can you identify as major differences in
observation of a still life, a setting and a person...
Physical Description


Select an area on campus to observe. Set
aside 30 minutes of quiet time to describe
it. Set reason...
Feedback


How did you approach this description of a
setting?



How did this differ from the previous
description you ...
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Lang cult field research

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Lang cult field research

  1. 1. Field Research 1
  2. 2. Still Life Observe and describe the objects you can see on the table. 2
  3. 3. Physical Description Select a section of this room which is immediately across from where you are sitting. Describe this section of the room in detail. I’ll ask you to stop after 15 minutes. 3
  4. 4. Physical Description  Discussion How did you approach this exercise? How is this exercise like the previous? Unlike? What was the most difficult part of the exercise? 4
  5. 5. The research tree: summarising approaches Gay, L.R. & Airasian, P. (2003). 5
  6. 6. Ethnography  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. Flick 6
  7. 7. Ethnography as Method        Field based Personalised Multifactorial (triangulation) Long-term Inductive Dialogic holistic 7
  8. 8. Ethnography as Product Narratives which draw the reader into a vicarious experience of the community within which the researcher has lived  Three kinds of stories (see Van Maanen)   Realist  Confessional  impressionistic  Form  Introduction  Setting  Analysis  conclusion 8
  9. 9. Research Design: cyclical Collecting ethnographic data Selecting an ethnographic project Making an ethnographic record Asking ethnographic questions Analysing ethnographic data Writing an ethnography 9
  10. 10. Theoretical Orientations       Symbolic interactionism Feminism Marxism Critical theory Cultural studies postmodernism 10
  11. 11. Symbolic interactionism  Sociological school which has been influential in ethnographic studies. Its principle interests are: Meaning; human beings act towards things on the basis of the meanings they have for them. Process; these meanings expressed through symbols are handled through an interpretive process. Interaction/Context: meanings are the product of social interaction in society. 11
  12. 12. Field research  Two principle methods of field research; Participant observation interviewing  In both, the researcher is the main instrument for doing the research.  Problems of access and selection 12
  13. 13. Access  Definition: gaining permission to carry out the field research in a particular social/institutional setting Initial contacts Gatekeepers Ethical consideration 13
  14. 14. Selection strategies: sampling events people Processes Social situation Sites Time periods Which aspect of reality do you want to investigate? 14
  15. 15. Selection strategies: example  A participant observation study exploring how people cross the road. Locations: which roads to choose; pedestrian crossings Events: crossing the road; waiting; accidents Time periods; different times during the day People; differentiated by age, gender, alone/in groups 15
  16. 16. Participant observation    The researcher ‘participates’ in the situation The researcher primarily collects material through observation Look at these field roles: Fieldwork Comparative involvement Participant as observer Complete participant Comparative detachment Observer as participant Complete observer 16
  17. 17. Collecting data: making observations Descriptive observation Focused observation Selective observation 17
  18. 18. Descriptive observation  Aims to describe the social situation The setting People events   Understanding context is fundamental Descriptive observation often result in narratives – stories Events/episodes Roles/characters Time sequences 18
  19. 19. Focussed/Selective observation  Focussed   Limiting the scope – focussing Made after analysing descriptive data They construct particular elements of the study  Selective  Further focus Looking for contrasts, differences between different elements   19
  20. 20. Description  Task: To describe a person sitting across from you, either one you know or a stranger.  Time: 15 mins Select a person to describe physically Arrange your 15 minutes to your best advantage Use descriptive terms and work for accuracy    20
  21. 21. Description: Feedback  What can you identify as major differences in observation of a still life, a setting and a person?  How did you approach this exercise?  What was difficult for you in the exercise and what do you want to do about it? 21
  22. 22. Physical Description  Select an area on campus to observe. Set aside 30 minutes of quiet time to describe it. Set reasonable goals for the description. For example, select one part of the library or one section of the student union.  Again, write down your notes in fieldwork form and then write them up on the wiki. (nb do this with all the observation exercises we complete) 22
  23. 23. Feedback  How did you approach this description of a setting?  How did this differ from the previous description you completed?  What was the most difficult part of this exercise for you? 23

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