The Best Writers2022/3/8 A Simple Guide to Ethnography Simple Guide to Ethnography&text=Ethnography is unobtrusive research through,the environment with … 1/3A Simple Guide to Ethnography Copyright © 2013 David W. GuthLast Updated 23 July 2013 X Ethnography is unobtrusive research through observation and limitedinteraction. The researcher plays the role of an independent, neutral and -in the case of immersion an invisible observer. The key is to make detailedobservations of the environment with minimal interaction. You do not wantto influence the data you collect by interacting with the subjects of yourobservation. Ethnographic research can be very complex and involve ascientific process of data collection and coding.  However, for thepurposes of undergraduate-level research, a more simplistic approach isoften all that is necessary. These are some basic steps in conductingethnographic research:Start with a game plan. Before you begin this process, have a goodsense of the kind of data you want to collect.  That’s why a goodfoundation of secondary research is very helpful in this process.Knowing the nature of the challenge you face can dictate the kind ofdata you want to collect. For example, if your challenge is to attractmore tourists to a community, then you should focus on how visitor-friendly the community is in terms of signage, parking,accommodations, etc.Start with an open-mind and fresh eyes. Objectivity is mandated. Don’t begin observing a situation with preconceived notions.  Theycan color your observations and keep you from getting to the truth. For example. an observer from a big city may assume that people inrural communities are jealous of his or her lifestyle.  The researchermay be surprised to discover that such an assumption may becompletely opposite from the truth. Forget what the brand is or whatthe client wants it to be.  Try to figure out what it really is.Remember that you are a researcher and not a spy.  All researchers especially those who represent this university — are expected toengage in ethical conduct.  It is not necessary to lie to someone whomay be curious about what you are doing.  It is all right to tellsomeone who you are, who you represent and the reason you areobserving. The worst case scenario is that the person may not wish totalk to you or will ask you to leave.  If that’s the case, disengage withcourtesy.  However, more often than not, such a disclosure may opena useful line of conversation that provides meaningful information.Be super-vigilant. Don’t try to decide what is and is not important whileyou are in the field.  Take it all in.  The time for deciding which dataare meaningful and which are not comes later during analysis. Sometimes the smallest, most innocuous observation can become animportant key in addressing your client’s needs.  Ask yourself:What does it look like?What does it smell like?What does it sound like?What does it taste like?What does it feel like?To put it another way, pay attention to all of your senses.  Forexample, Tacoma, Washington, is known for the pungent smellemanating from its local paper mills.  Outsiders call it the “TacomaAroma,” an image the local Chamber of Commerce would just as2022/3/8 A Simple Guide to Ethnography Simple Guide to Ethnography&text=Ethnography is unobtrusive research through,the environment with … 2/3soon forget.  Individual observations may seem meaningless.However, in combination with other observations, may serve likeindividual puzzle pieces completing a picture.Take notes. Have a note pad or a small tape recorder with you. If it ispractical, a camera can be very useful.  A good ethnographicobservation takes in a lot of detail.  Don’t rely on your memory. If youare in a situation where a note pad or recorder are not practical,possible or may have a negative effect on interaction, try to captureon paper or on a recorder what you have observed and heardassoon as possible after the fact.Engage in meaningful small-talk. Some forms of ethnography involveinformal interviews.  These may be “off-the-cuff” conversationsresearchers have with people they meet, such as small talk with aserver in a restaurant. Meeting and talking with people can be asource of valuable data.  Remember the first point — you have agame plan and are looking for certain kinds of information. Keep theconversation informal and light.  If you want to take notes or recordthe conversation, ask first but keep in mind that doing so mayinfluence the conversation and remove its spontaneity.  The key is tomake people you encounter comfortable.  They are more likely totrust you as a casual friend than as a formal interrogator. And, again,never lie about who you are and what you are doing.Write your ethnographic descriptions in a neutral, third-person voice.When it comes time to commit your research to paper, deliver just thefacts.  Save any opinions you might have for the analysis (which isaddressed in the next point).  Stay away from the first-person “I” and”we,” as well as the second-person “you.”  The observer writes thedescription as if he or she is on the outside looking in.  If you usepeople’s names, always use the full name (if known) in first referenceand the family (last) name in second an subsequent references.Calling a person by his or her first name is too causal and can beconsidered, by some, as disrespectful.Analyze, don’t recommend. It is permissible to make suggestionsabout future avenues of research and possible tactics/strategies topursue.  But remember that recommendations are not made duringthe research stage.  Those come in the planning process and inconjunction with a comprehensive examination of goals, objectivesand tactics. All observations and suggestions should be supported byevidence.  For example, it is not enough to say a town’s downtownarea is unattractive.  Cite specific reasons and standards by whichyou make such a judgment.Write your report as if you expect those you have observed will read it.It is all right to have passion for your work.  But don’t let that passionspill over into this narrative.  This is research and, therefore, not theplace for it.  Your tone should be neutral, not strident.  Frame yourcomments in positive terms. It is permissible to make criticisms. However, if you do, remember the Mary Poppins Rule: “A spoonful ofsugar helps the medicine go down.”Ethnography is considered primary research in that it is original researchcreated by the observer.  It is also qualitative, informal research, whichmeans it is not necessarily representative of that which is being studied. (Forexample, activity within a community may be different on a weekend thanit is on a weekday.) Upon its completion, ethnographic research may raisequestions and suggest solutions that merit further research. Ethnography2022/3/8 A Simple Guide to Ethnography Simple Guide to Ethnography&text=Ethnography is unobtrusive research through,the environment with … 3/3should not be the only research you conduct, but should be part of a morecomprehensive research strategy. XJOUR 320  xxxxx JOUR 640 xxxxx Home