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Lecture 11

SOAN 2120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Ethnomethodology, Descriptive Statistics, Freak Folk

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2120
David Walters

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SOAN 2120 Introductory Methods
Professor David Walters
February 26, 2015
Field Research
Naturalism observe people in small social settings over a small or large period of time.
Researchers understand and interpret behaviour in cultures.
- No statistics, mathematics—face to face social interactions with people in their home
- Used when other methods are not practical
- much less structured—social environment and interactions guide the study
Focus groups studying a small groups of people over a small or large number of people
over a short period of time
Describing a culture and understanding another way of life from your own perspective
(interpretive school)
Displays of behaviour do not give meaning—instead someone tries to figure out what is
meant by behaviour
The reality of the members (mean or implied) ethnomethodology  theory, philosophy
and method. The findings are the result of the method used as from the social life or
Ethnomethodologists argue that social interaction is the process of reality construction
The study of common sense. Specialized and highly detailed analysis of micro-situations
(transcripts, conversations, videotape). Analyze the behaviour, mannerism and
The Field Study occurs in a list of steps *** see page 224 of text for summary
Begin with a general topic/group and not a specific hypothesis
Fun and exciting topic is usually available for choice
Researchers can be very involved or univolved in what they study

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SOAN 2120 Introductory Methods
Professor David Walters
Small scale research usually up to 30 people
Study a group, culture or social setting
- Police department, sports team, bar
Choose a group that you can gain access to:
- Barriers: firefighters, police, construction sites. Some people want to be studied.
Others do not.
Access to group
Gatekeeper the individual in charge of the group ie sports coach, head constable of the
police department
Negotiate your role
Build trust and confidence with the gatekeeper of the group that you want to study.
Critical: It can be a challenge
You may have to make certain promises in order to gain access to the group you want to
People who are familiar, involved and available within the group being studied
Establish a key informant that you, as the researcher, rely on for the gaining of
information about the group
Will encounter difficulties in maintaining relationships within the group being studied
The group knows that you are always watching them; hence wariness.
Know your role
Assuming your role: researcher must know how to dress, behave, act in the host
environment. Avoid offending the group and make them feel comfortable with you being
there. You want to gradually integrate yourself into the group.
Knowing your role allows you to be an insider to the group and thus more access to the
inside workings of the group
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