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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2013

Courtney E. Cole

The purpose of this paper is to provide a more expansive recounting of the process of fieldwork, taking place over a number of years in diverse locations, in order to show…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a more expansive recounting of the process of fieldwork, taking place over a number of years in diverse locations, in order to show how research design develops through the process of field research, as well as to highlight the complexity of fieldwork, especially issues of access, identity, and power.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on the author's fieldwork experiences in Sierra Leone, working from and expanding upon fieldnotes from time in the field. Reflexive, autoethnographic personal narratives of fieldwork experiences are juxtaposed with theoretical writing about ethnographic observation and qualitative research.

Findings

The expansive discussion of the process of fieldwork and the development of the research project through time demonstrates and explicates the complexity and temporal dimensions of qualitative field research. Issues of access, identities, and power/privilege are also crucial aspects of the fieldwork process.

Research limitations/implications

This paper shows the importance of acknowledging and articulating the development of fieldwork and research design over time and in different places. It also discusses the complexity of fieldwork due to issues of access, identity, and power. Its claims are limited by its focus on one case, the author's fieldwork.

Social implications

This piece will help members of society better understand the process of qualitative fieldwork. Given its format and writing style, this piece can be easily read and understood by interested members of the public.

Originality/value

This paper provides narratives and commentary that provide a more complete picture of the practice of field research and the development of research design over the course of time and in diverse locations. This will be valuable to researchers, especially those preparing for field experiences for the first time or for their first time in a particular field, as well as students interested in learning about qualitative fieldwork practices.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2016

Ruth Barley

Drawing on research findings from an ethnography conducted with young children, exploring notions of difference, identity and peer interactions, this study uncovers how…

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on research findings from an ethnography conducted with young children, exploring notions of difference, identity and peer interactions, this study uncovers how four- and five-year-olds initiated and maintained peer interactions within a linguistically diverse Early Years setting in the North of England.

Methodology/approach

This study adopted an applied ethnographic approach to gain the emic perspectives of children in the reception class at Sunnyside over a full academic year. Over the course of this school year I spent a day a week with the class undertaking non-participant and participant observations alongside unstructured informal conversations and focused on visual research activities.

Findings

Language and identity were closely intertwined in children’s patterns of interaction at Sunnyside. For some children language had a functional value while for others it was a symbolic marker of identity. Similarly, for some children their minority language held valuable linguistic capital while for others their first or home language was viewed as being something to shun. For all the children language was only one factor that played a role in initiating and maintaining their peer interactions at school. These implications will be discussed in this chapter.

Originality/value

Situated in a particular local context, this study provides an in-depth insight into the experiences of a linguistically diverse group of children from North and Sub-Saharan African countries who have come together in a single school setting where Somali and Arabic are the two key languages that are spoken by children in the class. This chapter discusses how these children viewed languages within the classroom context and how other identity markers associated with ethnicity, religion and nationality intersected with language within the context of ‘being friends’ at Sunnyside.

Details

Friendship and Peer Culture in Multilingual Settings
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-396-2

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Article
Publication date: 16 December 2020

Amanda Elizabeth Bruck and Kayleigh Garthwaite

We explore how neoliberal logic has led to an erosion of social-welfare programs and pervades organizational structures and functions of a third-sector organization. Based…

Abstract

Purpose

We explore how neoliberal logic has led to an erosion of social-welfare programs and pervades organizational structures and functions of a third-sector organization. Based upon fieldwork in a foodbank in the North-West of England, we discuss the impact of economic cuts upon organizational norms of the foodbank, and the intersection with the provision of charity support and personal relationships between the staff, volunteers and visitors.

Design/methodology/approach

This article analyses pervasiveness of neoliberalism on a foodbank and the impact this has on organizational norms and relationships found within the organization. It integrates themes of structural violence, neoliberal discourse in the charity sector, notions of (un)deservingness and appropriate of time.

Findings

Our research finds how a hostile environment transpires in a third-sector organization under increased economic and bureaucratic pressures and from this, organizational rules emerge that ignore the lived experiences of the people it serves. Herein, visitors must learn the organization's norms and garner relationships to be able to navigate the organization to successfully access essential resources.

Originality/value

The findings in this article will be of interest to academics researching poverty and organizational norms, professionals in the charity-sector and policy makers. Rules originating from economic and bureaucratic pressures can establish barriers to accessing essential material resources. It informs the pressures felt in balancing access to support services with personal timetables, and the need to include visitors' voices in establishing norms.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2009

Kalpana Shankar

The purpose of this paper is to report on a qualitative study of data management and recordkeeping in the research sciences and their roles in information creation and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on a qualitative study of data management and recordkeeping in the research sciences and their roles in information creation and professional identity formation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses ethnographic fieldwork data in an academic laboratory to examine documentation practices as a part of the trajectory of scientific professionalization. The article examines ethnographic fieldnotes and medical records as cognate areas that provide insight into the topic.

Findings

The paper argues that scientific recordkeeping is essential for learning to balance professional standards and personal knowledge, establishing comfort with ambiguity, and can be a process marked by ritual, anxiety, and affect. The article does this by discussing the creation of record from data, tacit knowledge as part of that process, and the process of legitimate peripheral participation (LPP).

Research limitations/implications

The qualitative nature of the study suggests the need for similar studies in other environments.

Originality/value

The article emphasizes recordkeeping as a part of documentation studies by taking an interdisciplinary, ethnographic approach that is still emergent in information studies. The article is written primarily for fellow researchers.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 65 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2011

Sandi Kawecka Nenga and Lauren A. Apgar

Purpose – To examine how youth appropriate and resist elements of the developmental discourse as they construct and enforce dating norms.Methodology – In 2007, we…

Abstract

Purpose – To examine how youth appropriate and resist elements of the developmental discourse as they construct and enforce dating norms.

Methodology – In 2007, we conducted participant observation at a middle school summer camp for youth in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Youth ranged in age from 11 to 17 years old.

Findings – Youth borrowed the idea of a normative sequence of behaviors arranged by age from the developmental discourse to establish a set of age-appropriate dating norms for all campers, regardless of chronological age. Youth enforced these norms by treating other dating actions as too young or too old. By tying this linear trajectory to social age instead of chronological age, youth creatively altered the apparently rigid developmental discourse and established dating norms which addressed their own values and concerns. Youth established dating norms and maximized opportunities for pleasurable, collective discussions about dating and romantic relationships. Although the developmental discourse influenced the norms in this peer culture, we argue that the small, heterogeneous composition of the camp facilitated youths' ability to appropriate, refashion, and resist the developmental discourse.

Details

The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-075-9

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2016

Jesse Davie-Kessler

This chapter examines the practical and conceptual limitations and possibilities of using ethnographic methods in the college writing classroom for the purpose of…

Abstract

This chapter examines the practical and conceptual limitations and possibilities of using ethnographic methods in the college writing classroom for the purpose of instructors’ professional development. The study is based on ethnographic research with a second-year course in Stanford University’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric. The study’s dual foci included the teacher–researcher’s pedagogical practices and students’ learning, and entailed participant-observation and the recording of ethnographic fieldnotes. It builds on the anthropology of literacy, a tradition of action research among educational ethnographers, and scholarship on composition pedagogy. Participant-observation could be helpful to other college instructors interested in improving their teaching. However, combining participant-observation with direct student feedback through interviews or surveys will be most effective in shaping educators’ professional development. Using participant-observation for professional development in the college writing classroom did not only situate me, the ethnographer, as both subject and object of research. Unexpectedly, my research also placed ethnographic methods as objects of research. By examining student learning and teaching practices ethnographically, researchers create opportunities to illuminate assumptions related to research as well as broader lessons about the study of teaching and learning.

Details

New Directions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-623-2

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 21 August 2020

Toni Ryynänen and Visa Heinonen

Temporal consumption experiences have been conceptualised as universal, subjective or practice-based experiences. Little research, though, addresses such experiences in…

Abstract

Purpose

Temporal consumption experiences have been conceptualised as universal, subjective or practice-based experiences. Little research, though, addresses such experiences in conjunction with the repeated and situational consumption events that bring them about. The purpose of this paper is to extend current knowledge by examining how the temporal and situational intertwine during consumption events. For this purpose, the concept of a consumption timecycle based on the research data is constructed.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes a longitudinal and researcher-led approach to study temporal consumption experiences. The data was collected through participant observations, video recordings and personal subjective introspections during three consecutive annual Nordic motorcycle consumer trade shows (2014–2016). The data was analysed using an interpretive approach.

Findings

The results demonstrate five temporalities that characterise a consumption timecycle as follows: emerging, core, intensifying, fading and idle-time temporalities. The features of these temporal experiences are presented in the conclusions section of the paper.

Research limitations/implications

Recalled temporal experiences are mediated experiences and they differ from lived experiences. The transferability or generalisability of the results might be limited, as the case is situated in the Nordic context.

Originality/value

The paper presents the novel concept of a consumption timecycle that extends current debates about consumer time. The consumption timecycle is contrasted with established temporal concepts in consumer and marketing research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 27 May 2020

Abigail Schoneboom and Jason Slade

As part of a wider ethnographic project that examines the significance of the public interest across three public and private sector UK planning organisations, this paper…

Abstract

Purpose

As part of a wider ethnographic project that examines the significance of the public interest across three public and private sector UK planning organisations, this paper uses tea-drinking as a lens to understand structural forces around outsourcing and commercialisation. Reflecting across the five case studies, the analysis supports Burawoy's (2017) recent critique of Desmond's Relational Ethnography (2014). Using Perec's (1997[1973]) notion of the “infra-ordinary” as an anchor, it highlights the insight that arises from an intimate focus on mundane rituals and artefacts.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were gathered through participant observation, chronicling the researchers' encounters with tea in each of the sites. A respondent-led photography exercise was successful at two sites. Up to 40 days of ethnographic fieldwork were carried out in each site.

Findings

The tea-drinking narratives, while providing an intact description of discrete case study sites, exist in conversation with each other, providing an opportunity for comparison that informs the analysis and helping us to understand the meaning-making process of the planners both in and across these contexts.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to critical planning literature (Murphy and Fox-Rogers, 2015; Raco et al., 2016), illuminating structural forces around outsourcing and commercialisation. It also generates methodological reflection on using an everyday activity to probe organisational culture and promote critical reflection on “weighty” issues across study sites.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2021

Jennifer MJ Yim and Peregrine Schwartz-Shea

The purpose of this article is to persuade ethnographers to consider using composites for studies in which protecting participants from identification is especially…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to persuade ethnographers to consider using composites for studies in which protecting participants from identification is especially important. It situates the argument in the context of the transparency and data sharing movements' uneven influence across disciplines.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews problems in maintaining confidentiality of research participants using pseudonyms and masking. It analyzes existing literature on composites, conditions of composite use and identifies composite actors as a form useful to place-based ethnography. Methodological aspects of composite actor construction are discussed along with potential opportunities composites offer.

Findings

Construction of composite actors is best accomplished by aggregating thematically during deskwork. Composites provide enhanced confidentiality by creating plausible doubt in the reader's mind, in part, through the presentation of aggregate rather than individual-level data.

Originality/value

This discussion advances the methodology of constructing composites, particularly composite actors, providing guidance to increase trustworthiness of ethnographic narratives that employ composites.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 19 May 2009

Elise Martel

Purpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate whether and to what extent economic transactions are influenced by social structures, power distributions, and…

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate whether and to what extent economic transactions are influenced by social structures, power distributions, and cultural understandings through an analysis of exchange at a scrap metal yard in Chicago.

Methodology/Approach – Between March 2000 and December 2002, 72 interviews were conducted with collectors who bring metal to City Iron. With 16 of these collectors the author had a working relationship, assisting the collector in all aspects of the job. Data were coded and analyzed with the assistance of NVIVO, a qualitative data management program.

Findings – The author finds that market transactions are not impersonal and that moral characterizations matter. In this universally risky business in which some level of in-market cheating is expected, material and moral appraisals become intertwined as participants look to extra-market cues and clues in evaluating with whom to transact and how. While the ascription of ethnicity serves as a proxy for the particularistic judgment of trustworthiness, this sorting is accomplished and legitimated by an ostensibly universal moral discourse. Actors evaluate each other using a moral yardstick, paying as much – if not more – attention to what one believes the other is doing when not working as to when one is.

Originality/Value of paper – By focusing on exchange-in-interaction and articulating how economic transactions are culturally embedded, this research contributes to scholarship in the sociologies of work and economies, and provides a glimpse into an understudied work world.

Details

Economic Sociology of Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-368-2

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