Friday, 3 October 2014

ETHNOGRAPHY



INTRODUCTION
The term ethnography has come to be equated with virtually any qualitative research project where the intent is to provide a detailed, in-depth description of everyday life and practice. This is sometimes referred to as "thick description" -- a term attributed to the anthropologist Clifford Geertz writing on the idea of an interpretive theory of culture in the early 1970s (e.g., see The Interpretation of Cultures, first published as a collection in 1973).  The use of the term "qualitative" is meant to distinguish this kind of social science research from more "quantitative" or statistically oriented research. The two approaches, i.e., quantitative and qualitative, while often complementary, ultimately have different aims.
While an ethnographic approach to social research is no longer purely that of the cultural anthropologist, a more precise definition must be rooted in ethnography's disciplinary home of anthropology. Thus, ethnography may be defined as both a qualitative research process or method (one conducts an ethnography) and product (the outcome of this process is an ethnography) whose aim is cultural interpretation. The ethnographer goes beyond reporting events and details of experience.  Specifically, he or see attempts to explain how these represent what we might call "webs of meaning", the cultural constructions, in which we live.

DISCUSSION
A.     Definition of Ethnography
Ethnography is the study of social interactions, behaviours, and perceptions that occur within groups, teams, organisations, and communities. Ethnography is a social science research method. It relies heavily on up-close, personal experience and possible participation, not just observation, by researchers trained in the art of ethnography. These ethnographers often work in multidisciplinary teams. The ethnographic focal point may include intensive language and culture learning, intensive study of a single field or domain, and a blend of historical, observational, and interview methods. Typical ethnographic research employs three kinds of data collection: interviews, observation, and documents. This in turn produces three kinds of data: quotations, descriptions, and excerpts of documents, resulting in one product: narrative description. This narrative often includes charts, diagrams and additional artifacts that help to tell "the story". Ethnographic methods can give shape to new constructs or paradigms, and new variables, for further empirical testing in the field or through traditional, quantitative social science methods. 

B.     Variations in Observational Methods 
Observational research is not a single thing. The decision to employ field methods in gathering informational data is only the first step in a decision process that involves a large number of options and possibilities. Making the choice to employ field methods involves a commitment to get close to the subject being observed in its natural setting, to be factual and descriptive in reporting what is observed, and to find out the points of view of participants in the domain observed. Once these fundamental commitments have been made, it is necessary to make additional decisions about which particular observational approaches are appropriate for the research situation at hand. 

C.     Methodological Principles 
Following are three methodological principles that are used to provide the rationale for the specific features of the ethnographic method. They are also the basis for much of the criticism of quantitative research for failing to capture the true nature of human social behavior; because it relies on the study of artificial settings and/or on what people say rather than what they do; because it seeks to reduce meanings to what is observable; and because it reifies social phenomena by treating them as more clearly defined and static than they are, and as mechanical products of social and psychological factors (M. Hammersley, 1990). The three principles can be summarized under the headings of naturalism, understanding and discovery.

D.     Ethnography as Method 
In terms of method, generally speaking, the term "ethnography" refers to social research that has most of the following features:
1.      People's behavior is studied in everyday contexts, rather than under experimental conditions created by the researcher. 
2.      Data are gathered from a range of sources, but observation and/or relatively informal conversations are usually the main ones. 
3.      The approach to data collection is "unstructured” in the sense that it does not involve following through a detailed plan set up at the beginning; nor are the categories used for interpreting what people say and do pre-given or fixed.
4.      The focus is usually a single setting or group, of relatively small scale. In life history research the focus may even be a single individual. 
5.      The analysis of the data involves interpretation of the meanings and functions of human actions and mainly takes the form of verbal descriptions and explanations, with quantification and statistical analysis playing a subordinate role at most. 

E.     Analyzing, Interpreting And Reporting Findings 
Remember that the researcher is the detective looking for trends and patterns that occur across the various groups or within individuals. The process of analysis and interpretation involve disciplined examination, creative insight, and careful attention to the purposes of the research study. Analysis and interpretation are conceptually separate processes. The analysis process begins with assembling the raw materials and getting an overview or total picture of the entire process. The researcher's role in analysis covers a continuum with assembly of raw data on one extreme and interpretative comments on the other. Analysis is the process of bringing order to the data, organizing what is there into patterns, categories, and basic descriptive units. The analysis process involves consideration of words, tone, context, non-verbals, internal consistency, frequency, extensiveness, intensity, specificity of responses and big ideas. Data reduction strategies are essential in the analysis.
Interpretation involves attaching meaning and significance to the analysis, explaining descriptive patterns, and looking for relationships and linkages among descriptive dimensions. Once these processes have been completed the researcher must report his or her interpretations and conclusions 

F.      Qualitative Description 
Reports based on qualitative methods will include a great deal of pure description of the program and/or the experiences of people in the research environment. The purpose of this description is to let the reader know what happened in the environment under observation, what it was like from the participants' point of view to be in the setting, and what particular events or activities in the setting were like. In reading through field notes and interviews the researcher begins to look for those parts of the data that will be polished for presentation as pure description in the research report. What is included by way of description will depend on what questions the researcher is attempting to answer. Often an entire activity will be reported in detail and depth because it represents a typical experience. These descriptions are written in narrative form to provide a holistic picture of what has happened in the reported activity or event. 

G.    Balance Between Description And Analysis 
In considering what to omit, a decision has to be made about how much description to include. Detailed description and in-depth quotations are the essential qualities of qualitative accounts. Sufficient description and direct quotations should be included to allow readers to understand fully the research setting and the thoughts of the people represented in the narrative. Description should stop short, however, of becoming trivial and mundane. The reader does not have to know absolutely everything that was done or said. Again the problem of focus arises. 
Description is balanced by analysis and interpretation. Endless description becomes its own muddle. The purpose of analysis is to organize the description in a way that makes it manageable. Description is balanced by analysis and leads into interpretation. An interesting and readable final account provides sufficient description to allow the reader to understand the analysis and sufficient analysis to allow the reader to understand the interpretations and explanations presented. 
H.    Purpose and Example
Qualitative media content analysis were used to examine the documents that can be text, images, symbols, and so on to understand the culture of a particular social context. In this qualitative analysis of media content of all kinds of data or documents analyzed were more likely referred to as "text" in whatever form the image, the sign, symbols, moving images, and so on. Or in other words in a document called qualitative content analysis is a form of symbolic representations that can be recorded/documented or stored for analysis. This qualitative media content analysis refers to methods of integrative analysis. And more conceptually to locate, identify, process, and analyze documents to understand the meaning, significance, and relevance.
David L. Altheide from Arizona State University in 1996 preferred to use the term "ahnographic content analysis" to explain the qualitative content analysis of the research model. The term he uses is actually ECA blend between objective content analysis method (traditional motion analysis of objective context) with participant observation. The term is defined ECA that the qualitative content analysis research investigators interact with the material so that the documentation specific statements that can be put in the proper context for analysis. Therefore, researchers who conduct qualitative content analysis studies should pay attention to several things, the first is the context, or social situations around the document or studied.
Here, researchers are expected to understand the nature (naturalness) and cultural meaning of the artifact (text) studied. For example, one important thing if researchers do research on the content of media messages, which should be considered that the news in the newspaper or on the news on television is a product of the culture of an organization or more simply is a product of organizational news. That is, if the researchers analyzed the content of a news message , he should consider the ideology of the organization/institution mass media.
The second is the process, or how a media production actual message contents and organized together. For example, because of the news on a television station is a product of organizational, researchers should also consider how the message is processed. How are analyzed television news format was adapted to the presence of news , the appropriateness of the decision published news, coverage of events into consideration, how objective reality edited into the reality of media and so on.
Third is Emergence, the gradual formation of a gradual understanding amkna a message via interpretation. Emergence will help researchers understand the processes of social life in which the message was in production. Here the researchers used a document or text to help understand the process and the meaning of social activities. In this process the researcher will know what and how the message -makers are influenced by their social environment or by how the creator of the message defines a situation .
The purpose of qualitative analysis of the actual research is a systematic and analytical, but not stiff (rigid) as the OCA. Categorization used or made ​​only a grade of study. Allowed concepts or categorization others emerged during the research process, including the orientation of the models, images, meaning and nuances found or identified during the research process. In addition, the ECA has more orientation to the development of the concept , the collection of data and the emergence of data analysis narrative that relies on the ability of the researcher.
Illustrative examples of the ECA study ever conducted in the United States the following may provide a clearer gamabran and examples of how the process is applied in his enelitian qualitative Nalysis Media, David Altheide illustrates how a ahnographer in the study of media content analysis involved in this study. Research on coverage of crisis in Iran involving 52 American citizens and coverage of the war in Vietnam on the USS crue amna 82 Puerdo held captive by North Korean soldiers for 10 months in 1968, takes approximately 400 days to see more than 900 shows in television. This study has a primary focus on the concepts and relationships news coverage televsi (TV coverage) and coverage of international networks such as those related to international crises like the one above. What seen in the study is the role and the issue news formats, including visual impressions/ picture, authenticity, and relevance the thematic emphasize conducted by the neswcaster.


CONCLUSION
Ethnography is the scientific study of human social phenomena and communities, through means such as fieldwork. It is considered a branch of cultural anthropology, the branch of anthropology which focuses on the study of human societies. Some people use “ethnography” and “cultural anthropology” interchangeably, although cultural anthropology includes more research techniques than just ethnography.
The practice of ethnography usually involves fieldwork in which the ethnographer lives among the population being studied. While trying to retain objectivity, the ethnographer lives an ordinary life among the people, working with informants who are particularly knowledgeable or well placed to collect information. This fieldwork may last for extended period of time; usually over a year, and sometimes much longer.
At the conclusion of a period of fieldwork, the ethnographer writes about his or her experiences. This writing includes a catalog of daily life, along with a discussion of rituals, phenomena, and an assortment of other events. Many people who work in the field of ethnography integrate multiple disciplines; using biology, for example, to analyze available food supplies, or geology to study the terrain and environment.


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