Monday, October 6, 2014

Blog #19: Ethnography Preconceptions

Due Date: Tuesday, October 7.

Researchers' personalities, cultural orientations, social statuses, political philosophies, and life experiences will color how they interpret other cultures. It is important to be aware of your own experiences and biases as you head in to your ethnography observation.

In this post, do these three things;

  1. Explain who and where you will be observing and what led you choose this culture. What are you hoping to discover or what driving questions do you have?
  2. Who is your broker - your contact person with a connection to the culture? You do not need to use last names.
  3. Try to outline what preconceptions you have about the culture you are observing and how those may affect your observations. What do you expect to find? 
Do not share these expectations with the group you will be observing as it may alter their behavior. The purpose of acknowledging your biases and preconceptions is to help yourself enter the observation process as objectively as possible.

Your next step after this is to conduct a focused observation, complete with thorough notes and photos, audio, videos, or a combination of the three. You can take photos of artifacts, environments, and products if you cannot or do not want to take photos of people. Again, take thorough notes on everything you notice without adding judgement. It is far better to have too many notes than too few.

Observations deadline: Monday, October 20.

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