Chapter 2 -Angrosino (Sarah)

Chapter 2 -Angrosino

Ethnographic Research Overview Notes

The following are some general characteristics of Ethnographic Research

  1. Studies people in the settings in which they actually live in
  2. Requires personal contact
    1. rapport building
    2. mutuality share information or reciprocal social arrangements
    3. Seeks the perspective and meanings held by members of the study community
    4. Designed to generate data so as to build general theories
      1. Inductive Inquiry that sometimes works out of a framework called Grounded Theory (although it is possible to start with deductive inquiry).
      2. Triangulation – using multiple means to collect data from a variety of sources
      3. Seeks to understand in context of behavior and not simply the content of that behavior
        1. Holistic perspective – predisposing factors, the entire situation
        2. Is rooted in understanding the culture
          1. Culture as defined as a kind of system- an integrated set of beliefs, and material products that is shared by a particular people.
          2. Cultural relativism – which means that every culture is assumed to be meaningful and useful to those who follow its ways.

i.     The principal task of the ethnographer is to describe and explain


–       Protect dignity and privacy

–       Institutional Review Boards

–       Informed Consent

–       Confidentiality

Key Terms

Confidentiality , Cultural Relativism, Grounded Theory, Holistic Perspective, Inductive Inquiry Informed Consent, IRB, Mutuality, Rapport, Theory, Triangulation

Chapter 3 Site Selection and Other Practical Consideration

Unit of Analysis –where the ethnographer conducts research in the field

Selection Criteria – Three basic criteria

–       Logistical criteria

  • Legal access
  • Geography

–       Definitional Criteria (how a group is defined) and Conceptual Criteria

  • Conceptual criteria includes questions of saturation (significant number to study)
  • Sampling of population

Some Practical Considerations

– Basic inventory (audio equipment, appropriate clothing, access)

First Contact

–       Advanced preparation

–       Gatekeepers

–       Authority

Characteristics of Good Ethnographic Methods

–       Resourceful-       Enthusiastic

–       Self-motivated

–       Adventurous

–       Cultural Sensitive

–                Trustworthy-                Risk-taking

–                Curious

–                Sociable

–                Able to think conceptually

Some questions to consider

–       Conduct a personal inventory of your qualities as a potential ethnographer, what characteristic traits do you believe you possess and what areas would you need to address?

–       What are some areas you cannot change?

–       How can you mitigate factors you cannot change from being problematic?

–       Why would the philosophy “Know thyself first” be an important concept to embrace? Do you keep a journal?  Why would that be useful?

–       Do you have a favorite system for collecting notes?  Share some ideas.

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