Junior Methods Workshop: Participant Observation: Practical Issues


Thursday, March 23, 2017, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


WJH 350

Dr. Kevin Caffrey

What is ethnographic fieldwork? How can students get the most out of this methodology during summer research? In this workshop, we will first define ethnographic fieldwork and then focus on some of the operational and theoretical issues associated with conducting such research. We will discuss questions such as how to set up a field-site, considerations of safety and location, as well as how to prepare to engage a different cultural context. In addition to abstractions like "objectivity,” we will think about forms of documentation and the role social categories (preconceived and otherwise) can play in this endeavor and also attend to the key issue of field notes. This workshop will be based on the research students are planning to conduct. Everyone should come to this session with a 10 minute introduction of their project, should be able to generally describe their field site (even though this may be a moving target), and come prepared with a list of at least ten questions (which will be handed in at the beginning of the workshop).