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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Prabash Aminda Edirisingha, Jamal Abarashi, Shelagh Ferguson and Rob Aitken

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the methodological significance and potential of integrating Facebook in ethnographic research. The authors discuss how friendly…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the methodological significance and potential of integrating Facebook in ethnographic research. The authors discuss how friendly relationships with participants could be initiated, fostered and managed by incorporating Facebook in ethnographic data collection and how such relationships deepen ethnographic interpretation.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper focuses on the methodological implications of adopting “friendship as method” during ethnographic research. The discussion is premised upon a longitudinal, multi-method ethnographic research process exploring new family identity formation in Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Findings

Building on friendship theories, the authors suggest that Facebook engagement helps overcome three challenges inherent to ethnographic research: gaining access and immersion, capturing multiple perspectives, and developing rich and thick interpretations. The findings illustrate that adopting Facebook as a platform to strengthen friendships with research participants expands the researcher’s field by enabling him to follow the ethics and pace of conventional friendship and by inspiring dialogical interaction with participants. Thus, it is suggested that Facebook helps diluting the power hierarchy in the participant–researcher relationship and encourages participants to reveal more subtle details of their mundane lived experiences.

Originality/value

Even though researchers have often used social media interactions in ethnographic research, there is no theoretical foundation to understand how such interactions could better inform the depth and richness of research phenomena. Particularly, considering the emerging significance of social media in personal identity construction, sustenance and enactment, it is import to understand how such mediums enable researchers overcome inherent methodological complexities. Therefore, this paper contributes to literature on conventional ethnography, netnography and friendship theories by presenting a theoretical framework to understand how Facebook interaction contributes to overcome challenges in conducting ethnographic research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2012

Elizabeth Mackinlay and Brydie‐Leigh Bartleet

The purpose of this paper is to explore the individual music research projects the authors were working on in Borroloola, Northern Territory of Australia, and the ways in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the individual music research projects the authors were working on in Borroloola, Northern Territory of Australia, and the ways in which the lived and inter‐subjective concepts of sisterhood and friendship strengthened the authors’ shared experiences in the field and became the foundations of their method.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an auto‐ethnographic and inter‐subjective narrative approach, the authors consider how the intertwined notions of relationship as research and “friendship as method”, underpinned what was being researched, how the research was enacted, and finally how the authors came to further appreciate and understand the role that music‐making plays in facilitating this process.

Findings

The authors’ independent and shared experiences during this research were stark reminders that it is indeed the quality of field relationships and friendships, rather than clever theoretical ideas or fancy methodological frameworks, which ultimately determine the quality and depth of their musicological and ethnographic research.

Originality/value

This paper presents original, feminist‐based research which places concepts of sisterhood, friendship and relationships at the centre of music research practice in Australia. More specifically, this research highlights the complexities of such research practice across the boundaries of race, with and in collaboration with, Indigenous Australian women.

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Book part
Publication date: 22 November 2014

Prabash Edirisingha, Robert Aitken and Shelagh Ferguson

In this paper, we provide a practical example of how ethnographic insight is obtained in the field. In so doing, we demonstrate multiple ways in which ethnographic…

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, we provide a practical example of how ethnographic insight is obtained in the field. In so doing, we demonstrate multiple ways in which ethnographic approaches can be adapted during on-going research processes to develop rich and multiple emic/etic perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based upon the first author’s reflective experience of undertaking ethnographic field work. The discussion draws from a multi-method, longitudinal and adaptive ethnographic research design, which aimed to capture the process of new family identity formation in Sri Lanka.

Originality/value

Existing research gives us excellent insight into various methods used in contemporary ethnographic research and the kinds of insight generated by these methods. With few exceptions, these studies do not give significant insight into the specifics of the ethnographic research process and the adaption practice. Thus, we provide a practical example of how ethnographic insight is obtained in the research field.

Discussion/findings

Our discussion elaborates the ways in which we integrated multiple research methods such as participant observations, semi-structured in-depth interviews, informal sessions, Facebook interactions, adaptations of performative exercises and elicitation methods to overcome complexities in cultural, mundane and personal consumption meanings. We also discuss how closer friendships with informants emerged as a consequence of the ethnographic research adaption practice and how this influenced trust and confidence in researcher-informant relationship, presenting us with a privileged access to their everyday and personal lives.

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Megan Godwin, Judy Drennan and Josephine Previte

The purpose of this paper is to explore the meso-level social forces that influence moderate drinking in young women’s friendship groups through the application of social…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the meso-level social forces that influence moderate drinking in young women’s friendship groups through the application of social capital theory.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative inquiry was undertaken utilising peer-paired and small focus groups to explore young women’s drinking choices within their existing friendship groups. Guided by emic and etic perspectives, friendship groups were analysed to inform archetypical representations that illustrate group-level social capital exchanges.

Findings

The approach led to identifying four social capital and drinking archetypes. These archetypes indicate social capital-led “influencers” and “followers” and highlight the displays of capital practised by young women in alcohol consumption contexts.

Research limitations/implications

The social marketing insight drawn from this study of young women’s drinking behaviours will inform social marketers on future strategic directions about how they can use alternative methods to segment the social market of young female drinkers and develop value propositions that will motivate them towards adopting or maintaining moderate drinking practices.

Originality/value

This study contributes to social marketing theory by demonstrating the worth of social capital theory as an alternative lens for social marketers to apply in explorations of group influences that shape behaviour. The research findings in the paper demonstrate how deeper theorisation provides rich insight into the meso-level, complex behavioural influence which effect young women’s alcohol consumption.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 12 November 2018

Trude Klevan, Bengt Karlsson, Lydia Turner, Nigel Short and Alec Grant

The purpose of this paper is to explore how sharing stories of being a mental health professional and academic, based more broadly on serendipity and searching in life…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how sharing stories of being a mental health professional and academic, based more broadly on serendipity and searching in life, can serve as means for bridging and developing cross-cultural understandings and collaborative work.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a relational autoethnography based on face-to-face and written conversational dialogue between five mental health academics from the UK and Norway.

Findings

The very practice of writing this paper displays and serves the purpose of bridging people, cultures and understandings, at several levels, in the facilitation of new research and writing projects. Troubling traditional boundaries between “us” and “them, and the “knower” and the “known,” the writing is theoretically underpinned by Friendship as Method, situated in a New Materialist context.

Originality/value

Through its conversational descriptions and explorations the paper shows how doing relational autoethnography can be purposeful in developing cross-cultural understandings and work at both professional and personal levels. It also demonstrates how autoethnography as relational practice can be useful in the sharing of this methodology between people who are more and less familiar with it.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

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Article
Publication date: 10 October 2016

Barbra Natifu

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which the position of a former insider with multiple levels of knowing and being known, afforded me benefits and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which the position of a former insider with multiple levels of knowing and being known, afforded me benefits and challenges in a complex higher education institution in Uganda. A reflexive autoethnographic account of the author’s research experience is employed as methodology. The study observes various benefits and challenges of this position. These include: firsthand knowledge of institutional culture and informants, leading to multiple levels of access; ability to conduct enriching interviews; and good rapport with informants. The challenges include: complexity of the institution; ethical challenges; power dilemmas; and anonymization of data. Access was noted to be a key benefit and it was experienced at five levels: personal relational networks; informant’s knowledge of a family relation; links to institutional and national networks; the role of media; and situational factors. In accordance with Bourdieu’s (1986) concepts of forms of capital, the study established that four levels of knowing were linked to social, cultural, economic or media capital. The study reveals existence of a link between different levels of knowing and being known and their affiliated forms of capital. It shows that possession of any or a combination of these forms of capital leads to what the study defines as “information access capital.” The study suggests that the different levels of knowing and being known determine the breadth and depth of a researcher’s information access capital. The study implies that power imbued relationships can limit access.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper applies a reflexive autoethnographic methodology where the author uses their personal research experience to make sense of the benefits and challenges of gaining access as a former insider with multiple identity positions. The paper draws from the author’s personal experience (auto) set in an institutional cultural context (ethno), to analyze the research process (graphy) of gaining access of top and middle management informants. First person (auto) accounts of the author’s organizational cultural (ethno) and research process (graphy) experiences and how they link to the benefits and challenges of researching an organization as insider are used as data.

Findings

The study observed various benefits and challenges of the insider position. These include: firsthand knowledge of institutional culture and informants, leading to multiple levels of access; ability to conduct enriching interviews; and good rapport with informants. The challenges include: complexity of the institution; ethical challenges; power dilemmas; and anonymization of data. Access was noted to be a key benefit experienced at five levels: personal networks; informant’s networks; institutional networks; the role of media; and situational factors. The four levels were linked to social, cultural, economic or media capital.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to the researcher’s personal experience of the institution. The paper shows the role that social, work, political, media, institutional and national networks and their affiliated forms of capital play in affording insider researchers access. It shows that researchers deficient in these capitals have low-information access capital and face challenges of access. It also shows that although friendship may enable access, if infused with power dynamics, power hinders access. The study shows insider researchers in complex organizations have to continually navigate the insider-outsider continuum and challenges thereof. Practicing relational ethics during and after research is key when conducting organizational insider research.

Practical implications

The paper shows the role that social, work, political, media, institutional and national networks and their affiliated forms of capital play in affording insider researchers access. It shows that researchers deficient in these forms of capital have low-information access capital and face challenges of access. It also shows that although friendship may enable access, if infused with power dynamics, power serves as hindrance to access. The study also shows insider researchers in complex organizations may have to continually navigate the insider-outsider continuum and challenges thereof. Practicing relational ethics during and after research is a key consideration of insider researchers.

Social implications

The paper reveals the challenges of accessing top and middle management in complex, bureaucratic and guarded higher education organizations. It shows that although higher education institutions, by virtue of their research orientated missions, should ideally set the right example for easy access to information at all levels and ranks of the organization. However, the reality of access for an insider research may be far from the ideal due to factors of complexity and previously formed power imbued relationships.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to understanding factors at play when gaining and maintaining research access to top and middle management in a higher education context. In accordance with (Bourdieu’s, 1986) concepts of forms of capital, the paper contributes to understanding the relationship between multiple levels of knowing and their affiliated forms of capital and how these capital forms may facilitate information access. It shows that possession of any capital form increases a researcher’s information access capital. The paper expands Weinreb’s (2006) definition of stranger and insider interviews, by showing multiple ways of “knowing or being known” before and during the study.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 August 2020

Wafa Said Mosleh and Henry Larsen

The purpose of this paper is to present researcher's reflexive writing about emergent events in research collaborations as a way of responding to the process-figurational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present researcher's reflexive writing about emergent events in research collaborations as a way of responding to the process-figurational sociology of Norbert Elias in the practice of organizational ethnography.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing parallels between Norbert Elias' figurative account of social life and auto-ethnographic methodology, this paper re-articulates the entanglement of social researchers in organizational ethnographic work. Auto-ethnographic narration is explored as means to inquire from within the emerging relational complexity constituted by organizational dynamics. Writing about emergent events in the research process becomes a way of inquiring into the social figurations between the involved stakeholders; thus nurturing sense-making and increasing the awareness and sensitivity of the researcher to her own entanglement with the relational complexity of the organization under study.

Findings

In the paper, we argue that the writing of auto-ethnographic narratives of emergent field encounters is a process of inquiry that continuously depicts the temporal development of the relational complexity in organizations. Viewing that from the perspective of Elias' concept of figuration, we find a common commitment to the processual nature of research processes, which insists on moving beyond objectifying empirical insights.

Originality/value

This paper encourages awareness of the interdependency between ourselves as social researchers and field actors as we engage with the field. It moves beyond simplifying the ethnographic research agenda to that of “studying” and “describing” organizations. It offers unique insights into the organizational context, and increased sensitivity toward the social entanglement of the experiences that we, ourselves, as researchers are part of.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2019

Carine Farias

The purpose of this paper is to identify practices aimed at “passing the test” in fieldwork contexts characterized by reciprocal forms of symbolic violence.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify practices aimed at “passing the test” in fieldwork contexts characterized by reciprocal forms of symbolic violence.

Design/methodology/approach

It is based on an analysis of a fieldwork experience in an intentional community of activists inspired by anarchist ideas.

Findings

This study suggests that in a context of reciprocal violence, the researcher must qualify the specific threat that her presence poses and develop a set of behavioral practices aimed at neutralizing this threat in order to gain acceptance and gather valuable data. Three sets of practices – showing tenacity, disclosing oneself and adjusting while staying consistent – helped the researcher in crafting an acceptable status in the field.

Originality/value

Identifiable moments of hostile challenges should be addressed rather than avoided. They constitute indeed key gateways for understanding the culture and socializing processes of the observed group, and lead to relevant ethical questions regarding the ethnographer’s position.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Ligia Pelosi

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of the participant in narrative research. Rather than a passive and static element, the participant often adds a vibrant…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of the participant in narrative research. Rather than a passive and static element, the participant often adds a vibrant, evolving and independent dimension to the process.

Design/methodology/approach

The focus of this type of methodology is creative and unpredictable. Featured in the paper is the use of ethnographic fiction to examine and represent themes emerging from the data.

Findings

The participant’s contribution to narrative research introduces an unexpected quantity to the findings, which can redefine how questions, perspectives and direction of the research are framed.

Research limitations/implications

The research process can be viewed as a reciprocal event, a space where both researcher and participant co-exist, redefine understandings and contribute to findings in collaboration. This process relies heavily on relationships, and may be impaired if participant and researcher do not develop a suitable rapport.

Practical implications

This particular methodology can be unpredictable. As a creative process that depends on the development of sound personal relationships between participant and researcher, reliance on the researcher’s insight, ingenuity and resourcefulness is essential.

Social implications

This paper focuses on the participant as equal protagonist in the research process. It seeks to view the research process differently, highlighting how and why narrative research can be a significant journey of growth and discovery for the participant as well as for the researcher.

Originality/value

Arts-based methodologies in qualitative research are still in a phase of exploration. The use of fiction writing in narrative research is a powerful way to explore issues in a way that connects researcher, participant and audience in meaningful discourse.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

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Book part
Publication date: 25 September 2020

Yan Zhu

Friendships, an important form of people’s everyday relationships with others, have been studied by many scholars from different disciplines. However, there is limited…

Abstract

Friendships, an important form of people’s everyday relationships with others, have been studied by many scholars from different disciplines. However, there is limited research on friendship in the context of childhood, particularly that of Chinese rural children. This chapter presents findings from an in-depth study on Chinese children’s understandings and experiences of friendships with peers in the context of a rural primary boarding school. Data for this research were collected through an intensive five-month study, using an ethnographic approach, in a rural primary boarding school (given the pseudonym ‘Central Primary School’) in the western area of China in 2016. This chapter discusses parents’ influences on children’s selection of friends, particularly their ‘good’ friends, and their understandings of the functions of making friends in the context of rural China. It unpacks parents’ interventions on children’s friendships by discussing the moralised hierarchical relationship between children and their parents – children are expected to show obedience to parents. Then, it argues that the Confucian-collectivist values construct a relationship between a child’s individual achievement and their family’s collective good, which makes friendship not only an individual issue but also a collective one too.

Details

Bringing Children Back into the Family: Relationality, Connectedness and Home
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-197-6

Keywords

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