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Semester 2 - Feb 10, 2014 - Ethnography.docx

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Communication Studies
COMM 2002
Heather Pyman

February 10th, 2014 Ethnography Ethnography Project – 5% • Due on March 12th • Allow the researcher to make observations about a group of people in a social setting over a long period of time • Form of a formal journal report • Description of the group of individuals, what role you intend to take, what setting you have chosen, how you attend to access it • Analyze a minimum of 4 different observational time periods of a minimum of 30 minutes each • 5-6 page double spaced report o Introduction o Methodology o Findings o Discussion o Conclusion Ethnography • Participant observation • Method and written product of research • Research method in which the researcher is immersed in the social setting for an extended period of time o Make regular observation of behavior o Additional data gathered from interviews and documents • Purpose is to understand the culture, norms and values of the group Brief History • Gerhard Muller – 1700’s Second Kamchatka Expedition – The Polar Expeditions – Historian and geographer • Social and cultural anthropology 1800’s • Bronislaw Malinowski, 1922 – Argonauts of The Western Pacific o Trobiand people in New Guinea Communication Aspect • Began in the late 70’s early 80’s • Used to specifically study the nature of communicating behaviors • Analysis of speech behaviors in different settings • Analysis of inter-communication of specific groups • Observation of human interaction, in the act of communication o Speech behaviors • Meaning of communication between specific groups in society (certain races, age groups, etc.) • There is more than just the face value of the communication, by looking at small groups of people to look at how people understand why people get along, differences of opinion, conflicts occur, etc. • Rich and further understanding of different groups of society to see how people essentially get along – answers our WHY questions Key Ethnography Issues • Research questions • Settings o Closed/Non-public vs. open/public settings • Visibility of the ethnographer o Overt role  Participants aware of the researchers intentions o Covert role  Participants identity not disclosed • First starting point comes from observation • Become a blank slate and immerse ourselves into these settings • Allow yourself to just record what is going on, without your own thoughts intervening at all (as if you were a tape recorder) Access to Closed Settings • Negotiated access requires “strategic planning, hard work and dumb luck” • Use friends, colleagues and contacts to help you • Get support from sponsors within the group • Gain clearance from higher level “gatekeepers” • Offer something in return (e.g. a report) • Be clear and honest about your aims and methods Access to Open Settings • Includes gangs, groups and communities •
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