Ethnography

Ethnography (Greek ?θνος ethnos = folk/people and γρ?φειν graphein = writing) is a qualitative research method often used in the social sciences, particularly in anthropology and in sociology. It is often employed for gathering empirical data on human societies/cultures. Data collection is often done through participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, etc. Ethnography aims to describe the nature of those who are studied (i.e. to describe a people,  an ethnos) through writing.

ref.: Wikipedia

“Ethnographic work usually has most of the following features:

1. People’s actions and accounts are studied in everyday contexts, rather than under conditions created by the researcher – such as in experimental setups or in highly structured interview situations. In other words, research takes place ‘in the fiels’.

2. Data are gathered from a range of sources, including documentary evidence of various kinds, but participant observation and/or relatively informal conversations are usually the main ones.

3. Data collection is, for the most part, relatively unstructured, in two senses. First, it does not invove following through a fixed and detailed research design specified at the start. Second, the categories that are used for interpreting what people say or do are not built into the data collection process through the use of observation schedules or questionnaires. Instead, they are generated out of the process of data analysis.

4. The focus is usually on a few cases, generally fairly small-scale, perhaps a single setting or group of people. This to facilitate in-depth study.

5. The analysis of data involves interpretation of the meanings, functions and consequences of human actions and intitutional practices, and how these implicated in local, and perhaps also wider, contexts. Qhat are produced for the most part, are verbal descriptions, explanations and theories; qualification and statistical analysis play a subordinate role at most.”

ref. Hammersley, M & Atkinson, P. (1993) Ethnography: principles in practice. Edition 2007. New York : Routledge.

edited 5 October, 2015 by Admin

Related Practices

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Associated Terms

Time

in Ethnography

‘The Greeks, Levine explains, had two words for time: CHRONOS and KAIROS. CHRONOS means absolute time: linear, chronological, and quantifiable. KAIROS, however, means qualitative time- the time of opportunity, chance, and mischance. If you can go to bed because the clock says half 10, you are adhering to a chronological time system. If you go to sleep because you are tired, you are following kairological or event time. We are all born with a sense of event time.’  Thackara, John: In A Bubble- designing for a complex world

edited 5 October, 2015 by Admin