Stage One: The Observation

You’ll don the hat of a Primary Researcher. You’ll observe your chosen subculture/site and observe it for at least two hours without interruption. You may either take notes while observing or free-write as soon as possible after your observation. Your job is to attempt to understand how the people you’re observing view their world. Specifically, this means you must observe closely, take profuse notes, and distance yourself from the site you’re observing. I recommend you choose a subculture or site you’re already a part of and involved with. Examples to Generate Ideas: Barber shops, nursing homes, clinics, emergency rooms, firefighters, church groups, self-help groups, emergency medical squads, athletic teams, video parlors and game rooms, tattoo parlors, maintenance workers, upper class majors (architecture students, art students), day care centers, businesses of all sorts (fast food restaurants, stores, bars), farmers and farm families, hang-outs (coffee houses, etc), radio stations, fraternities, sororities, clubs, dorms, libraries, sites for pick-up sports events, running or biking clubs, student union and people who work there, fringe groups (deadheads, punk rockers, fight clubs, etc.) Once you have your field notes, organize them into a brief report on your observation. In your report, you should generate possible Topics of Inquiry. These are basically questions you will seek to answer about your subculture/site. This means you must examine things thought to be common sense either to you or to the people at the site you observed.

Critical questions to ask yourself about your site:
 What can/have I learned from these people?  What’s ordinary about my site?  What’s extraordinary/unusual?

The ethnographic writer often –

 Analyzes how people act, talk, think  Tries to understand actions/attitudes that seem to pervade the community  Tries to discover overt and hidden conflicts that pull the community apart Investigates group motives

Your observation should: 1) Should give a detailed report of your site. 2) Generate possible Topics of Inquiry that you will investigate/research, which will lead to a more specific thesis/argument for the final research paper. 3) While at this stage you do not need a thesis statement, the observation should set the basis for your research paper. In other words, this will serve as the primary research portion of your final ethnography paper.

Length: 3 – 4 pages Format: Double-spaced. Times New Roman. 12-point font. Don’t monkey with the margins. Due for Workshop: October 10th **For Workshop: put your name on the drafts you comment on. **Do not lose the drafts with peers’ comments. Polished Version Due: October 15th

Read the Ethnography Assignment Sheet for more information.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.