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Transcript of Ethnographic Methods
the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety an individual experiences when placed in a strange cultural setting.
Also loneliness, lack of confidence
Issues in Field Research
3. Education (grade level completed):
5. Marriage status
6. Number of people in household
7. Number of children
8. Head of household?
10. Previous experience with malaria:
11. Children’s experience with malaria:
Example of a Survey
Based on participant observation
While doing participant observation or immediately afterward
Handwritten or typed
-Compare information collected by previous ethnographers
-Testing hypotheses by examining the statistical correlations between particular cultural variables, using synchronic data drawn from a number of societies.
An account of a key consultant’s life experiences
More Methods: Life History
Please describe what happened the last time you had malaria.
What are your thoughts on the health problems in your village?
Example of open-ended
1) Please look over these cards and sort them into
piles, so that similar items are in piles together.
You can make as many piles as you would like.
2) After the informant has finished making their piles ask them
“In what way are these alike?Why are these together in a pile?
List all of the names of illnesses you know
Likert scale example
(The last time you got malaria, how severe was it?)
(5) very strong/strong tumas
(2) mild/normal o no strong
(1) very mild/no strong
Fieldworker elicits responses to prearranged questions.
Immersion in the culture: fieldworkers participate in the daily lives of the people they are studying.
1. Initial contact
2. Culture shock: the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety an individual experiences when placed in a strange cultural setting.
3. Discovering the obvious
5. Exhaustion, the second break, frantic activity
6. Leaving the field
The Stages of Fieldwork
1. What is your general research topic?
2. Where are you thinking about conducting your research (your site)? Where are you going to conduct participant observation? Are there specific events that you want to observe?
3. Where/how will you find your consultants? Who may be your key consultant(s)?
4. What will your research methods be? Will you do structured or unstructured interviews? Cognitive methods? Life histories?
5. What will your research questions be? What do you want to find out?
6. What do you think the answer to your questions will be? These answers will help you formulate your thesis and analysis.
7. What are some potential interview questions? Share your answers to these questions with your group and ask for their feedback.
9. What do you think some potential answers to these questions will be? Use these answers to help you revise your thesis statement.
10. What is your thesis statement (main argument)?
11. What is your tentative title?
12. Write one paragraph describing your topic.
13. What are 3 concepts/theories you will use to contextualize your research
14. What are 3 topics that you will research?
15. What are three main points you will discuss in your report?
Gaining social acceptance
Developing rapport (harmonious relationships).
Issues in Field Research
(collection and presentation of results)
Issues in Field Research
Group discussion on set topics
People with the same role/perspective
People identified as having different roles/perspectives
More Methods: Focus Group
Cognitive methods: pile-sorting,
free listing, and triads
Structured interviews– consists of a limited number of specific questions.
Best suited for collecting general quantitative data.
Example– age, gender, income, nationality, etc…
Structured interviews or Surveys
They gave me some holy oil to protect me; I was told that I should make a cross with it on my forehead and on my clothes before I go walk about; this was prompted by me saying I wanted to go see Frank again. Apparently his father practiced black magic, and the family is still "holding onto something;" that is why Frank's father "fell down dead," a brother too. Holy oil can also be used to help you do well on an exam, to make people talk kindly to you, etc.. For fishing, as well: Toni puts it on her hook; this makes it so she will always catch a fish
#religion #holyoil #ritual #cross #symbols #sorcery #Christianity
Saturday, right before Uncle Bo died, one year old Kimi put her hands over her face and made a sobbing sound; this is a sign that there will be a death. A "rubbish sign." She did it again today; everyone is worried now. Tom used to do such things, too, make bad signs. He would bury his toy men in the ground; sometimes he would bury himself, too. Also, he would kiss people too much; for instance, he kissed Pulu’s baby, who later died. Another sign that black magic killed our uncle: not just the black dog, but also, yesterday, while we were at the funeral, Toni heard our dog going after a strange man, who was not wearing a shirt; the dog wanted to kill him; they think the man was a black magic man, maybe the same one who killed our uncle (who had sent the black dog). Leonard still suspects George of black magic, too. He forgot to use his holy oil yesterday, and when George shook his hand, he was afraid.
#religion #sorcery #holyoil #signs
Leonard prayed for me three times today. He prayed that I forget what I’ve been taught in school about man coming from monkeys, that I let go of this "wrong thought;" he prayed that I become a good Christian and finish all of my work and make lots of money. He has known all along that I have doubts, that there was something wrong. My "fasin" (fashion/behavior) is good; I am very kind, but he knew something was missing (that I am not a believer). He will have Pastor Solomon pray for me, too. He quoted Genesis and John. God made the world; God made us in his image.
#religion #prayer #attitudestowardevolution #creationism #originstory #genesis #Christianity
Coding Field notes & Interviews
place or community in which you conduct your fieldwork
A member of a community who provides information to a fieldworker.
Often an individual whom the local community considers to be an expert in a particular area.
examines the written accounts or other records about that group of people
gathers firsthand information from the living members of the society
Sources of Cultural Data:
Defining the field worker’s role in the community
Short term or long term obligations
Issues in Field Research
Can you think of an example?
Would a survey be useful for your project?
What kind of survey would you write?
Handouts or online?
Questions to help you brainstorm for your final report
Quantitative: quantities, numerical data, statistics
Demographics: statistics of a population (number of men, women, children, age groups, ethnic groups, etc)
Survey data: education, occupation, etc...
Quantitative vs Qualitative
Open-ended questions and unstructured interviews
More descriptive, more difficult to analyze
Analyze not by measuring but by identifying themes and "coding."
1) Complete participant
3) Complete observer
4 Reasons or Rationales
1. Allows for the collection of a wide range of data
2. Reduces reactivity: people are less likely to change their behavior. "Presence builds trust. Trust reduces reactivity."
3. Helps you figure out the right questions to ask
4. Helps you understand how to interpret your data, using your own experience and new found intuition ("
Issues in Field Research:
How to Prevent Bias
preconceived generalizations of a group that biases the way they are perceived and how their behavior is interpreted.
the researcher acknowledging their subjectivity and biases, etc…
1. Choosing a general topic and field-site
2. Choosing a specific topic
A. What are you interested in?
B. What are your informants always talking about?
C. What do your informants want you to investigate?
3. Developing an initial hypothesis
A. Use your textbook and the lectures as a guide: what concepts can you use to analyze what you are observing and what people are saying?
B. Find out what scholars have written about your topic and see if you can test or build on any of their ideas.
Have each person in your group share their project idea.
Where are you going to conduct participant observation?
What roles will you have? Will you be a complete participant, a participant observer, and/or a complete observer?
Are there specific events that you want to observe?
What are some potential interview questions?
Entering the Field
Use your personal contacts (if you have them)
Be prepared with an introduction (an explanation of what you're doing there). "I'm doing a project for my cultural anthropology class.."
Make friends first. Ask questions later. "Hanging out is a skill."
Get to know your the physical and social layout of the site
Helpful hints from Bernard
Learn the language or lingo
Build your memory and observation skills (this takes practice)
Recognize the difference between being objective and having no values ("value neutrality").
Realize that your ability to "suspend judgement" may be tested, that you may have to make some tough decisions, and that you may be powerless or unable to intervene (or that intervening may put you in danger)
More advice from Bernard
-Get the informant on the topic and "get out of the way"
Bernard: Interviewing skills
Types of interviews
informal conversations while "hanging out"
open-ended questions, hoping that the respondent will elaborate on the answers.
using an interview guide with topics to cover
following a set of identical questions and instructions
Types of "probes"
1. The silent probe
2. The echo probe
3. The uh-huh probe
4. The tell me more probe
5. The long question probe
6. Leading probes/directive
What do you do when someone gives short answers?
What do you do when someone goes off topic?
Advice from Bernard
Use your intuition
Issues in Field Research:
How to Prevent Misinformation
using multiple methods to gather and check information
Anthropologists can study their own cultures, too
1. Patterns of Behavior