COMM462 - Thick Description of everything you can remember

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Due on: 02/24/2024
Posted On: 02/24/2024 01:54 AM
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COMM 462: Field Notes

Identify a site of study for participant observation. Practice thick description and self-reflexivity in your field notes. Include your research question at the top of the page.

Include the following three sections in your field notes: (Chiseri-Strater & Sunstein, 1997):

1. Thick Description of everything you can remember about the occasion you are writing about - a meal, a ritual, a meeting, a sequence of events, etc. While it is useful to focus primarily on things you did or observed which relate to the guiding research question, some amount of general information is also helpful. This information might help in writing a general description of the site later, but it may also help to link related phenomena to one another or to point our useful research directions later.

Self-Reflection on what you learned of a personal nature. What was it like for you to be doing this research? What felt comfortable for you about being in this site and what felt uncomfortable? In what ways did you connect with informants, and in what ways didn't you? While this is extremely important information, be especially careful to separate it from analysis.

Analysis of what you learned in the setting regarding your guiding question and other related points. This is how you will make links between the details described in section 2 above and the larger things you are learning about how culture works in this context. What themes can you begin to identify regarding your guiding question? What questions do you have to help focus your observation on subsequent visits? Can you begin to draw preliminary connections or potential conclusions based on what you learned?

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