Chapter 6 (Ethnography and the Analysis of Archived Materials)
Archived Materials Defined
-Ethnographers define archived materials as records stored for research, service, and other official or unofficial purposes by researchers, service agencies, and other groups.
-The materials or data are stored in the format in which they were collected.
-The analysis of archived material is the collection of firsthand data through interviewing and observations in the field.
Examples of Archived Material
-Maps (General and Government Agency)
-Municipal, state, or other government records (births, marriages, property ownership, etc.)
-Church records (marriages, births, baptisms, etc.)
-Census, tax, and voting lists
-Records of human services (welfare, clinics)
-Court proceedings and arrest records
-Local group meeting minutes
-Copies of old newspapers, magazines, flyers, etc.
-Collection of photos, letters, or other memorabilia (public or private)
Note: Formal museums are sources of archived material (American Museum of Natural History)
Alternative Sources of Archived Material
-Secondary Data: information collected by other researchers for other purposes, but which can be re-analyzed for one’s own purposes. (For example, Human Relations File: information collected on 360 cultures and provides full text.)
-Archival research is nonreactive research: The researcher is not in direct contact with those under study.
-Positive: Researcher cannot influence outcome in the field
-Negative: No personal familiarity with the material
-For this reason, other forms of ethnographic data should be collected in tandem with archived material.
Additional Information on Archived Material
-Archived material is useful in detailing cultural processes through time.
-Caution should be used in examining archived material. The material may not always tell the full story.
-Issues with archived material:
-Storage (poor conditions and disorganized)
-Availability to material
- What kinds of archived material have you worked with in past doctoral study projects?
- Was it difficult to access the archived material? Did you have entry into the documents? Why or why not?
- In working with archived material, have you come across inaccurate information? (Explain)
- What databases have you accessed in order to retrieve quality archived material?
Chapter 7 (Presenting Your Findings)
Before Presenting (Are you able to do what an ethnographer does?)
-identify a social setting, unit of analysis, for ethnographic study
-Meaningful explanation (formative theory) of useful and interesting aspect of culture that can be studied in the setting
-Conduct a personal assessment of your own strengths and weaknesses as a researcher
-Devise a plan for keeping and retrieving notes from the field
-“See through the eyes of an ethnographer” conduct both unobtrusive and participant observational studies in the selected setting
-Ask probing questions that help the people in your setting reconstruct their histories and/or reflect on issues of concern
-Access and analyze archived material pertinent to the history or issue of concern, in connection with the people in the setting
Three Basic Skills of an Ethnographer
-Locating and analyzing archived materials
-Dissemination of knowledge gained from research!
-Communicate information and insight to a larger audience
-Written Report, Article
Goal of a quality ethnographer is to be an effective communicator
- In the past, have you conducted yourself as a true ethnographer in past projects? Have you actually gone through all the steps?
- Once you completed your research, who would your potential audience participants be in sharing your findings?
- Is publishing an article sufficient in sharing your research? Why or why not?
- If you were going to think outside the box, what would be one or two ways to showcase your research findings?