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ethnographic_studies [2015/02/18 17:02] (current)
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 +**Ethnography and natural observation**
 +
 +Ethnography entails the study of behaviour in natural settings (//in situ//). ‘Experiments,​ surveys and interviews are all events set up by researchers to generate research data. They attract the criticism that they give a distorted picture of what usually goes on. An antidote is for researchers to study ‘naturally occurring’ situations which would have happened whether researchers had been around or not.’ (Quoted from Gomm, 2004, p216, 217)
 +
 +Example research questions: we might use ethnography to account for:
 +  * Everyday behaviour of people towards preparing and eating food in their own home.
 +  * What lies behind purchasing decisions
 +  * Food practice and the generation of domestic food waste (see Evans, 2011)
 +
 +
 +**Characteristics of ethnography** (see Elliott and Nichol, 2003)
 +
 +    - Involves immersion of the researcher and observation of ‘informants’ in natural settings over extended periods of time.
 +    - It is essential that the researcher perturbs the system that they are studying as little as possible.
 +    - To develop a knowledge of their social behaviour it is necessary to develop an understanding of the symbolic world of the subjects of the study, seeing the word through their eyes, using their shared meanings, understanding their language and ‘local rules’.
 +    - Ethnography is deep rather than wide. Ethnographers seek to develop a ‘thick description’ of social behaviour which captures its complexity. Often the main data source generated are extensive field notes which give an on-going account of what has been observed and conversations that have occurred.
 +    - The level of involvement by the researcher varies. The researcher may (or may not) be a participant who participates (fully or partially) in the activities of those being researched. This has the advantage of showing commitment and credibility. On the other hand they may be a non-participant who observes what is going on.
 +    - Ethnography depends on the researcher being able to gain the trust of the research participants,​ and developing a rapport with them. Food studies will frequently be conducted in settings that are normally closed to the researcher such as private homes or at the workplace, and data collection can take place (continuously or intermittently) over many months. Ethical research practice must be followed.
 +    - Frequently observation is combined with other tools, for example informal interviews and casual conversations;​ semi-structured interviews; informant activities such as an informant diary, a tour of the kitchen, documents, shopping receipts, and photographs.
 +
 +**References**
 +  * Bryman A.  (2012) //Social Research methods.// 4th ed. Oxford, OUP.
 +  * Elliot, R. and Elliot, N.J. (2003), Using Ethnography in Strategic Consumer Research. //​Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal//, 6(4): 215-223
 +  * Evans D. (2011) Blaming the consumer – once again: the social and material contexts of everyday food waste practices in some English households. //Critical Public Health//, 21 (4): 429 - 440
 +  * Gomm R. (2004) //Social Research Methodology. A Critical Introduction//​. Basingstoke,​ Palgrave Macmillan
  
ethnographic_studies.txt · Last modified: 2015/02/18 17:02 (external edit)