Ethnographic Research

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Ethnographic Research : 

Ethnographic Research

Slide 2: 

Rooted in old school anthropological research. "Ethnography literally means 'a portrait of a people.‘ It is a written description of a particular culture - the customs, beliefs, and behavior - based on information collected through fieldwork." --Marvin Harris and Orna Johnson, 2000.

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Immersion research. You embed yourself into the culture group you are studying. Participant Observation

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Use when you don’t need quantitative / empirical results Use when you want to discover what people do and why they do it from their own perspective.

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The end result is a description and interpretation of the shared and learned patterns of values, behaviors, beliefs, and language of a culture-sharing group. The purpose of this study was to discover and describe the knowledge, shared beliefs, values, practice patterns and sustainability of emergency nurses who exemplify nurse presence. . . . Findings revealed five themes: Unfolding the Gift, Building the Mosaic, Have or Have Not, The Audible Wheeze, and From Strangers to Intimates with a Simple "Good Morning." Strong characteristics for presencing nurses included steadfast-in-being, being committed, having courage, instilling hope, and being grateful. Kathleen Marie Walsh, Ph.D., University of Connecticut, 2009,

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A culture-sharing group = Individuals who have shared behaviors, beliefs, and language. They vary in size. They interact on a regular basis and over a period of time. They should be representative of a larger group.

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Shared Pattern = a common social interaction based on unspoken rules / expectations that stabilize and unify a group. Types of patterns: Ideal: What should have occurred Actual: What did occur Projective: What might have occurred

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a single event several activities observations over a long period of time

Fieldwork : 

Fieldwork gathering data in the same setting where participants are located. observations, tests, measures, interviews (formal and informal), audio-visual recording, spatial mapping, notes (formal, mental, jots) DISCOVERY vs. Hypothesis Testing

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1. Be descriptive and detailed n taking field notes. 2. Cross-validate and triangulate by gathering different kinds of data. (observations, interviews, program documentation, recordings, and photographs) 3. Use quotations to capture participants' views of their own experiences in their own words. 4. Select key informants wisely. 5. Build trust and rapport at the entry stage. 6. Include in your field notes and observations reports of your own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. These are also field data. Genzuk, M. (1999). Tapping Into Community Funds of Knowledge. In: Effective Strategies for English Language Acquisition: A Curriculum Guide for the Development of Teachers, Grades Kindergarten through Eight. Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitian Project/ARCO Foundation. Los Angeles. Advice for doing field work . . .

Forms of Data : 

Forms of Data Description: detailed depiction of what is going on in the shared-culture-group (emic / exegesis) Themes: patterns or topics that signify how the culture group works and lives (emic / exegesis and etic /eisegesis) Interpretation: inferences and conclusions about what was learned (etic /eisegesis)

Types of Ethnographies : 

Types of Ethnographies Autoethnography Ethnographic Novels Visual Ethnography Realist Critical

Realist Ethnography : 

Realist Ethnography Narrates the author's experiences and observations as if the reader was witnessing or experiencing events first hand. 3rd person, objective narrator Focus on participant perspectives -- chocked full of closely edited quotes.

Critical Ethnography : 

Critical Ethnography Seeks to Challenge status-quo and ask “Why does it have to be this way?” Seeks to liberate and empower marginalized groups

An Example : 

An Example . . .a critical ethnographic study of the ways four students experienced a first-year college writing course in which Rap/Hip Hop, African American rhetoric, and elements of critical social theory (Marxism, Critical Race Theory, and Black Feminism/Womanism) served as the primary "texts" for critical writing and interrogation. Research Questions: How can Hip Hop pedagogy in college composition engage students in a process of naming and changing unjust structures of racial oppression? In what ways does such instruction become meaningful in the lives of students beyond the confines of the composition classroom? by Austin Dorell Jackson, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2009

Cautionary (i.e. Threats to validity and reliability) : 

Cautionary (i.e. Threats to validity and reliability) Subjects may act in a manner that’s different from norm due to the presence of the observer.

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Power Objectivity Participant Onlooker

Reflexivity : 

Reflexivity Researcher should openly discuss how their presence and perspective shapes the data. Is there adequate self-awareness and exposure for the reader to make judgments about the impact of the researcher’s point of view?

Evaluating Ethnography : 

Evaluating Ethnography “Does the piece contribute to our understanding of social-life?” “Does this affect me? Emotionally? Intellectually?” Does it move me? “Does it seem ‘true’—a credible account of a cultural, social, individual, or communal sense of reality?” Richardson,L. (2000). Evaluating ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 6(2), 253- 255

Final Thought : 

Final Thought Or

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"Ethnography is unlike literature and like science in that it endeavors to describe real people systemically and accurately, but it resembles literature in that it weaves facts into a form that highlights patterns and principles... Ethnography can never describe with complete objectivity, producing a set of facts that are completely true; but through its portrayals and interpretations it can communicate human truths.“ Peacock, J. (1986). The Anthropological Lens. Cambridge University Press pp. 83-84.

Sources Consulted : 

Sources Consulted Creswell, J. W. (2006) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches 2nd edition. Sage Publications, Inc. Thousand Oaks CA. (March 2003). Federal Programs: Ethnographic Studies Can Inform Agencies’ Actions. A United States General Accounting Office Staff Study. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03455.pdf Genzuk, M. (1999). Tapping Into Community Funds of Knowledge. In: Effective Strategies for English Language Acquisition: A Curriculum Guide for the Development of Teachers, Grades Kindergarten through Eight. Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitian Project/ARCO Foundation. Los Angeles. Peacock, J. (1986). The Anthropological Lens. Cambridge University Press pp. 83-84. Richardson,L. (2000). Evaluating ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 6(2), 253-255 All images used with permission from www.gettyimages.com

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