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Ethnographic Methods and Research

Spring 2010

ENGL 5369
T/R: -5:30 –6:45 p.m.

INSIDE THIS Course Description

SYLLABUS The goal of nearly all social research is to discover, describe, and make
understandable the characteristics, causes, and consequences of social
phenomena and its “reality.” While few would argue with the goals of
Course Policies and
Procedures . . . . . . . . . . 2
discovery, description, and explanation, there has long been heated
 Attendance/Participation debate concerning the matter of how best to study various social realities.
 Late Work Different methodologies produce different results. Our goal is to
 Technology Issues understand part of this world using qualitative research methodologies.
 In-Class Conduct
The general aim of the seminar is to broaden and sharpen your
methodological imagination and skills by familiarizing you with a set of
Course Policies . . . . . . 3 methodological strategies and techniques that are (a) generally defined as
 Paper Format
 Academic Honesty
"qualitative" in contrast to "quantitative;" that are (b) employed for the
 Diversity Statement purpose of generating and analyzing data that are not normally tapped by
 Students with Disabilities survey research, demographic techniques, or experimental procedures;
 Office Hours and that (c) typically require the practitioner to spend time "in the field."

Course Policies . . . . . . 4
 Teaching Philosophy
 Social Networking  Professor: Dr. Billie Hara
 Student Learning  Email:
Outcomes  Twitter: @ProfHara
 Blog Address:
 Phone: (361) 825-2360
Assignments/Grading . . . 5  Office: FC 274A
 Grade Distribution  Office Hours: M/W: 1:30 to 2:30, T/TH: 4:00 to 5:30, and by appt.
 Grading Scale
 Grade Appeal Process
 Questions
Student Learning  Wolcott, Ethnography: A Way of Seeing (2008)
Outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . 6  Cintron, Angels' Town (1997)
 Listing  Emerson, Fretz, and Shaw, Writing Ethnographic Field notes (1995)
 Graph  Various articles on library reserve / resources on course blog
 Table  Ethnographic equipment you might need (you can borrow this from me if
you do not have your own): camera, digital video camera, digital audio
Daily Schedule . . . . . . . 8 recorder
 Internet access
Prerequisites for this  Portable storage medium (e.g. flash drive)
course: Graduate
 A few dollars on your SandDollar card for printouts.
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Course policies

You must attend and be on time for class, because the work we will do during class will be crucial
to your understanding of the material and your success in the course. In addition, English 5369 is
a pre-professional course, and you are expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner,
which includes good attendance. If you are alive, you need to be here. To be considered present,
you must be in class on time, participate in all class activities, and remain in class for the entire
 Absences
o If dire circumstances cause you to miss class, let me know and I will work with you.
o The only excused absence is a university sanctioned one. Extra-curricular (non-
academic) activities, studying for another course, breaking up with a boyfriend /
girlfriend, and very many similar issues are not sufficient cause to miss this class or
to be late with an assignment.
o Excessive absences will lower your final grade: after two absences, you will lose ½-
letter grade for each additional absence.
o At five or more absences, you will fail the course.
o Missing class the day an assignment is due does not automatically mean you get
more time to complete that assignment.
 Tardies
o If you arrive at class after your name is called, you are tardy. Two tardies equal one
unexcused absence.

Late Work
I will take any essay up to a week late (Monday to Monday, for example) without a grade penalty.
However, when you submit your work late, I do not put comments on your work. I will not accept
late work after the last day of classes (no exceptions).

Technology Issues
This course relies heavily on access to computers, specific software, and the Internet. At some
point during the semester, you WILL have a problem with technology: your laptop will crash, a file
will become corrupted, a server will go down, or something else will occur. These are facts, not
emergencies. Technology problems are no excuse for unfinished work. Count on "stuff"
happening and protect yourself by doing the following: Plan – start early, particularly if scarce
resources are required. Save work often – at least every ten minutes. Make regular backups of
files in a different location from the originals. Save drafts of work at multiple stages. When editing
an image, set aside the original and work with a copy. Practice safe computing when surfing the
web and checking email. On your personal computer, install and use software to control viruses
and malware.

In-Class Conduct
In general, treat each other and me with respect and follow simple standards of common courtesy.
Here are a few specifics:
 Please turn off all cell phones or other electronic communication devices and place them out of
sight (in a bag, purse, pocket) while in class.
 Use the computers only for ENGL 5369-related purposes. Please do not engage in e-mailing,
IMing, or the use of social networking websites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) during class
unless directed. Those who violate this policy will be required to turn off their monitor until the
computer is needed for class work.
 Please do not bring food to class (it can be highly disruptive). If you wish to have a drink, as I
will usually have one, please make sure it has a secure lid.
 When group work is assigned in class, you must work in a group, not as an individual.
 During group work time, please stay on task and work cooperatively with other group members.
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Course policies

Paper Format
All out-of-class writing, including rough drafts, must be word-processed and in the format
discussed in class. (This is generally double-spaced, normal font (Times New Roman or
Ariel) in a 12-point font, 1” margins.)

Academic Honesty/Plagiarism
The university will not tolerate plagiarism or any other form of intellectual/academic
dishonesty. Plagiarism is a serious violation of departmental and University policies, but it
is sometimes difficult to understand what plagiarism actually is. Often, students commit
unintentional plagiarism (not citing sources properly, for example), because they are
unaware of the standards that apply. In general, any work that contains material from
sources (including your textbooks) must be documented properly. Work that is turned in
for the course that is plagiarized will be failed. If you are unsure about your use of sources,
please consult with me or visit the writing center (in the TLC, in Library 216) for advice on
source documentation BEFORE the item is due. For this course, you must use either APA or
MLA citation style but be consistent. Any grammar handbook and many web sites have
directions on correct citation. You can find an excellent review of the various forms of
plagiarism, good for any teacher to review/use, at this link. It is long, but worthwhile.

Acceptance of Diversity
We are the most diverse campus, in terms of racial identity, in the Texas A&M system. This
means that we are all meeting and working with people who are different from ourselves in
terms of their identities: whether that is defined by their race, ethnicity, class, gender,
sexual orientation, and/or religion. Respecting and accepting difference is vital to your
success in this class, on this campus, as a future teacher in your own classroom, and in the
global community.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that
provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other
things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning
environment, which provides reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe
you are a student requiring an accommodation, please contact the Office for Students with
Disabilities at 825-5816. Students with special needs (recognized and documented by the
University) should notify me so we can discuss appropriate instructional aides or
accommodations. These conversations will be confidential.

Academic Advising
The College of Arts and Humanities requires that students meet with an Academic Advisor
as soon as they are ready to declare a major. The Academic Advisor will set up a degree
plan, which must be signed by the student, a faculty mentor, and the department chair.
The College's Academic Advising Center is located in Driftwood 203E, and can be reached at
825-3466. If your major is in another College (e.g., Education), please contact that college
for information and requirements about advising.

Office Hours
During the office hours posted on the first page, I will be in my office and available to talk
with you about any questions, comments, or concerns you have about the course. Please
stop by and see me during these hours. If those hours do not work for you, email me, and
we will find a mutually convenient time.
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Course policies

Course Calendar
In the course calendar that follows, you will find what we will be doing each day, what you
are expected to read or write for homework. The course calendar is very important, and
you are responsible for completing all the assignments listed. Keep in mind, too, that
writing can be a longer process than I can image now as I construct this syllabus.
Therefore, I reserve the right to make changes to this syllabus as we move through the
semester. If we do make changes, do not be alarmed. The changes will most often help
you. Those changes, however, will NOT be to move a date up early; if I have to change a
date, it will be to give you more time.

Twitter and other Social Networking Tools

I am an avid social media user. As time allows, we will use some social networking tools in
class. In addition to regular office hours, I am on the Twitter network as @ProfHara. You
can follow me if you wish. In the Twitter space, you can ask brief questions (140
characters), and I will reply to you.

Philosophy of Teaching
My teaching philosophy centers on ideas of critical / relational pedagogy, and the central
goals are simple. The critical: I will challenge you to think differently about the writing,
about the world, and even about yourself. The relational: while the responsibility for
learning belongs to you, we will do the work together. I support your products and your

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, you should be able to:
1. Identify the various forms of ethnographic research
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues concerning human subjects and
data collection.
3. Analyze and interpret collected data

Please see the graphic on the next page to understand how the course
assignments will help you meet these student-learning outcomes.
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Assignments and Grading Policies

Grade Distribution
Your grades will be based on the following assignments:

 Reading Responses (10) 10%

 CITI Training and Approved IRB Protocol 10%
 Oral Presentation over assigned readings 10%
 Annotated Bibliography 20%
 Field Work Essay 20%
 Final Research Report 30%

Grading Scale
It is your responsibility to keep track of your grades. If you need to clarify or confirm your
grades, I am happy to do so during office hours. I will not discuss your individual grades in
class. If you have concerns about how to fulfill an assignment, or if you have concerns
about your grade, please make an appointment to see me. In the case of a grade issue,
please schedule an appointment at least 24 hours after I return the assignment to you. Be
sure you have read my comments carefully, and be prepared to discuss how your paper fits
the criteria given for that assignment.

Avg. 98 95 92 88 85 82 78 75 72 68 65 62 0

A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F

Grade Appeal Process

As stated in University Rule 13.02.99.C2, Student Grade Appeals, a student who believes
that he or she has not been held to appropriate academic standards as outlined in the class
syllabus, equitable evaluation procedures, or appropriate grading, may appeal the final
grade given in the course. The burden of proof is upon the student to demonstrate the
appropriateness of the appeal. A student with a complaint about a grade is encouraged to
discuss the matter first with the instructor. For complete details, including the
responsibilities of the parties involved in the process and the number of days allowed for
completing the steps in the process, see University Rule 13.02.99.C2, Student Grade
Appeals, and University Procedure 13.02.99.C2.01, Student Grade Appeal Procedures.
These documents are accessible through the University Rules Web site at For assistance and/or
guidance in the grade appeal process, students may contact the Office of Student Affairs.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this syllabus, please speak with me as soon
as possible. You are responsible for understanding and adhering to the policies of this
course and TAMU-CC.
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Daily Schedule (subject to change)


Thurs 1/14 Introduction to Course; Sign up for Presentations; “An Experiment in Art”

Ethics of Ethnographic Research

Tues 1/19 Jane Elliott and the Class Divided [video]
 Wolcott (Chap 1-2), pp. x-42
Border Studies
Thurs 1/21 Ethnographic Study Invention Workshop
Sign up for Presentations
 Wolcott (Chap 3), pp. 43-68
Tues 1/26  “(Un)natural Bridges, (Un)safe Spaces,” The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader

Thurs 1/28  Wolcott (Chap 4), pp. 69-104


Tues 2/2 IRB Form Due
 Wolcott (Chapter 5), pp. 105-36
 Wolcott (Chapter 6), pp. 137-76
Thurs 2/4
 “Disability & Identity.” The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader [.pdf]
Shelby Lee Adams “The True Meaning of Pictures” [video]
Shelby Lee Adams, Appalachian Lives.
Tues 2/9
 Hernandez, Jesus Rene Luna “Photo-ethnography by People Living in
Poverty Near the Northern Border of Mexico.” [.pdf]

Thurs 2/11  Wolcott (Chapter 7), pp. 177-200

Tues 2/16  Wolcott (Chaps 8-10), pp. 201-238

 Wolcott (Chaps. 11-12), pp. 239-64

Thurs 2/18
 Wolcott (Chaps. 13), pp. 265-90

 Taylor & Hickey, “Fanta, Flor, and the Future.” Tunnel Kids. [.pdf]
Tues 2/23
 Saldívar, José David, “Changing Borderland Subjectivities.” [pdf]

Thurs 2/25  ”Border Arte.” The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader. [.pdf]

Tues 3/2  Cintron, Angels’ Town pp. ix-97

Thurs 3/4  Cintron, Angels’ Town pp. 98-129

Tues 3/9  Cintron, Angels’ Town pp. 163-end.

 Fay, Michaela. “Mobile Subjects, Mobile Methods: Doing Virtual
Thurs 3/11
Ethnography in a Feminist Online Network” [.pdf]



 Bishop, Wendy. “I-Witnessing in Composition: Turning

Tues 3/23
Ethnographic Data into Narratives.” [.pdf]


Tues 3/30 Writing Field notes, pp. vii.16

Thurs 4/1 Writing Field notes, pp. 17-38

Tues 4/6 Writing Field notes, pp. 39-65

Writing Field notes, pp. 66-107

Thurs 4/8

Tues 4/13 Writing Field notes, pp. 108-141

Thurs 4/15 Writing Field notes, pp. 142-168

Tues 4/20 Writing Field notes, pp. 169-207

Thurs 4/22 Writing Workshop

Tues 4/27 Writing Workshop

Thurs 4/29 Writing Workshop


Tues 5/11 FINAL RESEARCH REPORT DUE (4:30 to 7:00 p.m.)

x Name of Instructor

x Course title

x Course number

x Office phone number

x E-mail address

x Office number and building

x Office hours

x Course description

x Student Learning Outcomes

_x__ at least two
_x__ student focused
_x__ measurable
_x__SLOs are the same as other sections of course
x Graded activity
_x__specific dates of assignments
_x__nature of assignments
_x__assignment weight

x Policies (Recommended but NOT required)

_x__late work __x_plagiarism
_x__missed exams __x_attendance & tardiness
_x__preferred methods of scholarly citations

x Required statements
_x_ student with disabilities statement*
_x__advising statement**
_x__grade appeals process***

x Supplies (if applicable)

x Texts/readings (if applicable)

x Provisional course outline