Ethnographic Skills in Research

Many times as in the case of Qualitative and explorative research taking data from people becomes imperative. Collecting data from people in a particular natural setting is a challenging task as the researcher does not have any control over the environment. Such types of settings can be open or closed settings. Open settings include markets, villages, social gathering places, fairs etc. Closed settings include institutions, firms, houses and organizations. Before collecting data the researcher should bear in mind that it is not the people but their experiences, notions and information is what is sought. The researcher should have a good grasp of the topic of research and be well equipped with research tools like questionnaires, recording instruments etc. Level of involvement with the situation under study also determines the ability to comprehend correctly any particular situation; involvement can be as a complete participant, participant as observer, observer as participant or complete observer. In complex situations involvement of more than one roles may be required.

People who find it easy and interesting to interact with different people can take up social research, a background in social sciences and knowledge of advanced social sciences like ethnography can contribute significantly in developing people skills. Ethnography is a subject that deals with people and their cultures, ethnographers can mingle into different cultures and understand their issues and problems, they may use an unstructured or semi structured mode of enquiry to know about their topic of interest. In order to interpret observations ethnographers make notes, rate, scale and categorize the observations. In general ethnographic research process comprises of:

  • Comprehending the topic of research and understanding what is required
  • Selecting and designing the proper tools for data collection
  • Selecting the questions
  • Selecting the places and respondents
  • Getting access to respondents at their places
  • Collecting data
  • Interpreting data
  • Further specifications of questions
  • Collecting more data
Category : Research
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