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Semester 2 - Feb 24, 2014 - Ethnography II.docx

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Communication Studies
COMM 2002
Heather Pyman

February 24, 2014 Ethnography II When is ethnography appropriate? • Research question dictates the type of method • If the RQ requires an in-depth understanding of the social context ethnography is an important method • Allows an understanding of social reality from a participants perspective Research Question examples: 1. Age: Communication between students and faculty in Oliver’s 2. Use of communication devices at the gym 3. Clothing change with the season change 4. Gender: interaction with groups in the atrium Becoming an ethnographer • Research question as a general guide • Access to the setting – open/closed gatekeepers-key informants and sponsors mal • Role: o Complete observer o Observer as participant o Participant as observer o Complete participant Incorporation into a setting: relationships and roles • Mascots, apprentices and dancing daughters -Gender can play a role in the kind of relationship you are going to have with your participants (i.e. old men thinking of you as a daughter if a young female) -need to have a sense of role • Sex -males harassing female field workers -close relationship with participants leading to physical relationships • Violence -illegal groups being studied (i.e. motorcycle gangs threatening violence and study being cancelled) • Incorporation into a setting is a matter of negotiation between the members and the researcher How to gather data • Data collection and analysis should proceed simultaneously • You cannot observe all interaction, need to focus on particular parts of the setting • Awareness of multiple levels of observation Common mistakes • Only observing what you feel is important from your ‘perspec
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