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15 Steps How to Conduct an Ethnography

( How to Conduct an Ethnography - An ethnography is a qualitative research method intended to describe a culture or an activity of a particular community. It is vital to the study of anthropology as it helps answer many of the questions you may have about a particular community. Over the years, the practice of conducting an ethnography has changed, but the importance of this process will never diminish. To be a successful anthropologist, one must be able to correctly conduct an ethnography.

  • Starting the project

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

1. Figure out what question you want answered. This is the most important step in conducting an ethnography. You must ensure that your question or research can be applied to more than one community. You also need to make sure that by answering your question, someone will benefit from the knowledge. Basically, for whom is this research being conducted and how will they benefit from this research?

An example of this would be: How does working with your family affect workplace efficiency in the United States?

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

2. Keep an open mind One of the main concerns of anthropologists is being culturally insensitive to the interviewees. You have to keep in mind that during the ethnography process you are going into a new environment that has different values.

One way to ensure you are not culturally insensitive is to do some research in advance about the place you will be visiting. Knowing some background information about the people and the place can help you be more open-minded about their practices.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

3. Secure financing if necessary. Qualitative research can be very expensive and often requires funding from outside sources. You may be able to receive financial support from a university or other research institution through a scholarship.

What you need depends on your research. Most professionals who undertake ethnography apply for grants to obtain funding for their trips.

Conducting research abroad can be expensive, and there are a number of hurdles to overcome in order to get a grant.

For example, you may need to present your research to a panel of people who will decide whether to offer you funding for your project.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

4. Choose your team. In most cases, you will work with other people to better understand the community you are studying. When choosing team members, it's important to choose people who work well with others, since anthropology is the study of people. It's also important to choose people who are passionate about your chosen topic.

Try to choose people with whom you already have a good working relationship and who are already reasonably familiar with the subject you are studying.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

5. Make plans to visit your research site. Once you have chosen your research project, you should choose a location that will allow for the best analysis. Plan a trip to visit this place so you can start your ethnography.

When choosing the location, you need to think about why you chose those towns/villages and the importance of interviewing people from those locations.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

6. If possible, seek a guide. It's difficult being in a new place, especially when you're perceived as an outsider. This is exactly why it is so important to contact someone who lives in the town/village where you will be studying. They can take you to the "premium" interview locations and also help you with language barriers if there are any.

Your guide may be able to help you find appropriate people to talk to and resolve any cultural issues that may arise.

  • Completion of the interview

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

7. Construct interview questions. It is important to keep linking each question back to the overarching research question. It's also important to create a list of questions and stick to that list throughout the interview process. Changing the questions to match the responses of some interviewees can introduce bias in the data. The research process should be made as scientific as possible, so the questions must be kept as constants.

Some example questions would be: How long have you been working with this family member? Which members of your family do you work with? How is your relationship with this family member?

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

8. Select interview partner. When choosing interviewees, you need to consider the biases the person may have. For this reason, it would be advisable to interview different people with different situations. For example, select interviewees of different gender, age, socioeconomic status, religion, etc. This will give you a wider range of answers.

It should also be noted that there is no set number of people you should interview; Typically, anthropologists say they keep interviewing people until they stop hearing new things.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

9. Prepare your conversation partners in good time. Your interviewees should know how long the interview will last, whether their participation is anonymous or not, and what to expect during the interview process.

This is common in ethnographic interviews and should always be followed.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

10. Make it easy for your interlocutors. You should try to provide as much comfort as possible to make your subjects feel more comfortable. Offer your interviewers something to drink, a comfortable place to sit, and show them where the toilet is if they need one.

Try to deal with them in a friendly but professional tone.

It's important to remember to be culturally sensitive to everyone you're interviewing. Don't make her feel out of place or uncomfortable during the interview as this could bias your results.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

11. Ask different questions. During the interview, you should try to ask non-leading questions whenever possible. This means that you shouldn't tell the respondent what you expect them to do or how they should respond by framing the question itself. Sometimes direct questions should be used, or even just repeating a word that seems significant and that the respondent mentioned.

An example of a leading question would be, "Tell me why Native Americans hate American settlers."

An example of a non-leading question would be, "Tell me about the relationship between Native Americans and American settlers."

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

12. Record the interviews. Since this is where you gather all the data for your research, it's important to have accurate records. Try to bring a recording device to record everything that happens. During the interview, you should also take some notes on things that don't appear in a recording - such as facial expressions, body language, movements and hand gestures.

Make sure you get the interviewee's permission to record the session before you begin.

  • Analysis of the results

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

13. Organize your data. When writing an ethnography, it is important to have all field notes handy. You should make sure to write down your observations: what you saw, how you felt, how it affected you and others involved, etc. Then organize the information so that it can be understood by many.

Remember that it is your job to record the details and not to recommend any particular course of action or change that should be made. You are just an observer.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

14. Analyze your results. After you have all the data organized, it's time to sit down and analyze what you have. Again, it's important to take your data and connect it to your overall "big picture" question. Even if your data shows the opposite of what you thought or predicted, it is your responsibility to present all data unbiasedly.

Try to combine all of the data into a comprehensive picture of the culture, behavior, or other aspect of life you were trying to quantify with this study.

How to Conduct an Ethnography: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

15. Present your findings. After you have completed your research project and analyzed your final results, you may be required to submit your final ethnographic report to the organization that sponsored or funded your research. In this way, your information becomes available to a wider audience and your work begins to contribute to the academic discussion of the topic.

It may also be worth trying to get some of your findings published in a relevant scientific journal or other type of publication. In this way you can reach an even wider audience.

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