ethnographies take many different forms H u m a n i t i e s

ethnographies take many different forms H u m a n i t i e s

Field Notes (15% of assignment grade)

Due: October 11, 2020

The specific form that field notes take will vary wildly between researchers. For some guidance on how to get started, please read the following (short!) article:

University of Southern California Libraries’ Research Guild on Writing Field Notes (Links to an external site.)

Notes on Field Notes:

  1. You will not be graded on your field notes (other than that you submit them and they appear to be careful and thoughtful), but they serve as the data on which you will build your report. That is, the main activity of this assignment is the generation of field notes. The more care and attention you put into them, the higher quality your eventual findings and discussion will be.
  2. Your field notes do not need to be edited; HOWEVER, they should be mostly intelligible to your TA and instructor. If you, for example, use some sort of symbol system in your notetaking, include the key.
  3. There is no length requirement or restriction on your field-notes. That said, when it comes to analyzing your notes to construct your report, the situation of having too many notes is much better than one of having too few.
  4. If the site of your virtual ethnography is one in which people use their real names (e.g. Facebook), use pseudonyms (made up names) in your field notes and report. You may keep a key which links real names to pseudonyms, but do not submit it with your assignment and destroy it once the assignment is complete.

Report and Discussion of Findings (60% of assignment grade)

Due: October 11, 2020

Your report should include the following:

  1. Describe your field-site, how it was chosen, and some of its key features;
    1. If your field site changed from your design, explain why.
  2. Based on your theoretical approach, either:
    1. (Top-down approach) describe the question you were investigating, how you became interested in it, and why this site was thought to be a good place to investigate it. What was your hypothesis?
    2. (Bottom-up approach) describe your phenomena of interest (if you had any) OR briefly provide a justification for an “unmotivated” approach.
  3. Describe your findings;
    1. Focus on a few central findings. Depth is much more important than quantity. That is, you can get full points for a strong description and substantiation of a single finding.
      1. I expect most students to focus on between one and three findings.
      2. Field notes, when done well, are data-rich; do not worry about extracting and explaining every finding you can. Instead, choose what interests you most (or is most relevant to your question, if you took a top-down approach), and focus on that.
    2. Ethnographies take many different forms. One structure you could use is to describe (narratively) a single happening, or series of happenings, and explain how it describes something about the scene.
    3. Depending on how you took field notes, you may want to do some basic quantification (counting) of happenings and use those numbers to substantiate a claim/finding.
  4. Describe how your findings might connect with some of the topics and materials we have studied this semester.
  5. Share what questions you have after completing your study and talk a little bit about how they might be studied further.

There is a 1000-word limit on the report/discussion portion of this assignment. There is no word requirement for the field-notes you will submit with the report.

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