How To Do Ethnography and Field Research


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The lecture on ethnography. I do have audio but am trying to find a spot to upload it.

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How To Do Ethnography and Field Research

  1. 1. Participant Observation and Field Research<br />
  2. 2. Key themes<br />What is ethnography?<br />Access<br />Types of sites <br />Key informants<br />What role to play?<br />How to do it<br />New types of ethnography<br />
  3. 3. What is ethnography?<br />A method, a product<br />Immersive<br />Extended period of time<br />Often focused on a particular culture<br />
  4. 4. What is Ethnography?<br /><ul><li>What is ethnography?
  5. 5. Ethnographic skills</li></ul>Interviewing<br />Observing<br /><ul><li>Types of observations</li></ul>Overt vs. covert<br />Ethical issues<br /><ul><li>Corporate ethnography case studies</li></ul>Nokia<br />Novo Nordisk<br />Intel<br />Prada<br />Famous Ethnographies<br />
  6. 6. Observing<br />Ethnographic skill No. 1<br />Denver, CO: Scooters in local supermarket: represents shoppers’ need to avoid walking while shopping<br />Toronto, Ontario: Intentional manipulation of corporate logo: symbolizes resistance.<br />
  7. 7. Interviewing<br />Ethnographic Skill No. 2<br />Or in a “foreign” culture<br />Can happen in a workplace “culture”<br />
  8. 8. Overt versus covert<br />Types of observation<br />Overt<br />Covert<br />Ethnographer informs participants of their study and is transparent about research.<br />Ethnography does not inform participants of the study and must balance ethical issue of deception.<br />
  9. 9. Ethical implications<br />Informed consent<br />Protection of privacy<br />Harm to participants<br />Deception<br />
  10. 10. Great ethnographies<br />Crestwood Heights, John Seeley: classic study of what is now known to be Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood<br />All of Our Kin: Carol Stack’s nuanced study of African American women’s intertwined lives<br />Street Corner Society: William Foote Whyte’s “Chicago school” of urban ethnography<br />Learning to Labour: Paul Willis’s study of working class British boys becoming working class men<br />
  11. 11. Gaining access to closed sites<br />Open<br />Communities<br />Malls<br />Raves<br />Closed<br />Firms<br />Schools<br />Hospitals<br />Need permission and introductions from a gatekeeper<br />No permission required, but must be accepted by the group. Go through gatekeepers.<br />
  12. 12. Case studies<br />Corporate Ethnography<br />Researched how consumers in developing countries deal with diabetes. Uncovered unmet needs in diabetes treatment<br />Ethnography in Asia and Africa lead to “image only” cell phone design with long battery life<br />Employs 24 full-time ethnographers to research computer use in the home, at work, and in the mobile space<br />
  13. 13. Case Study: Prada shopping<br />Corporate Ethnography<br />Embedded RFID tags in clothes so shoppers can easily find complete outfits<br />Created frosted glass doors for changing rooms that turn to windows at the touch of a button<br />Mirrors have a 5-second delay allowing shoppers to see the view from behind<br />
  14. 14. Open<br />Closed<br />Communities<br />Malls<br />Raves<br /><ul><li>Firms
  15. 15. Schools
  16. 16. Cults
  17. 17. Social Movements</li></li></ul><li>Getting Access to Open Settings<br />----- ---- !<br />Hey! Do you think I can hang out with you and your friends?<br />Well sure…c’mon in.<br />---.<br />---? ---<br />
  18. 18. Getting Access to Closed Settings<br />----- ---- !<br />Well let’s see if our manager says it’s OK.<br />I’d really love to share my findings with you.<br />---.<br />---? ---<br />
  19. 19. Ongoing Access Problems<br />I’m pretty sure she’s “in” with the boss.<br />Well I’m not telling her anything!<br />Well let’s see if our manager says it’s OK.<br />I’d really love to share my findings with you.<br />
  20. 20. Key Informants: Potential Pitfalls<br />You often hear only the key informants’ point of view.<br />Oh, they’re just happy to be at work!<br />I’m not really sure what they’re talking about.<br />---? ---<br />----- ---- !<br />
  21. 21. Field Research Spectrum<br />
  22. 22. How To Do Ethnography<br />
  23. 23. Problems in Ethnography<br />“Going native” is identifying with your participants and ceasing to be a “researcher.”<br />Oh I know! I cannot believe what they’re doing at head office!<br />Hey, how’s your ethnography going?<br />Oh! Sorry?<br />
  24. 24. Oh yeah, I can tell you all about their experiences. <br />Hmm. I’m not so sure<br />Institutional Ethnography<br />Canadian content!<br />
  25. 25. Oh yeah, I can tell you all about their experiences. <br />Hmm. I’m not so sure<br />Institutional Ethnography<br />Canadian content!<br />“Ethnography may start by exploring the experience of those directly involved in the institutional setting, but they are not the object of investigation. It is the aspects of the institutions relevant to the people&apos;s experience, not the people themselves, that constitute the inquiry”<br />Smith, Dorothy. 2005. Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People. New York: Altamira.<br />
  26. 26. Visual Ethnography<br />Documenting participants’ lives using photography or video.<br />
  27. 27. Visual Ethnography II<br />
  28. 28. Virtual Ethnography<br />Participate virtually in an online “place.” SeeHine, Christine. 2000. Virtual Ethnography. London: Sage.<br />