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Ethnography Master - Book Report/Review Example

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This paper has the primary objective to critically evaluate two papers posing specific questions in respect of each of the two papers. The two papers are instances of qualitative research and essentially follow the ethnography as methodology. The two papers are: The Smile Factory: Work At Disneyland by John Van Maanen and It's A Question Of Trust: Balancing The Relationship Between Students And Teachers In Ethnographic Fieldwork by Lisa Russell…
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Ethnography Master Book Report/Review
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Ethnography Master

Download file to see previous pages... In both instances of qualitative research the researcher is present in the field and interacts with his/her research environment and subjects to form findings. This paper essentially discusses the merits of the methodology adopted and the validity of conclusions reached through the specific questions in respect of each paper.
Russel rests upon the man argument that ethnographic research is of a very personal nature; thus the personality and personal dispositions of the researcher become an important element (Stapleton, 1984). Russell found, as an ethnographer that her gender, nationality, use of language, size and age determined the manner in which the two sets of participants on the trust divide line, i.e. the students and the teachers, related and interacted with her.Russel acknowledges due to her personal characteristics as a researchers it was apparent that she was able to establish rapport and gain trust much faster when compared to others.Russel goes on to clarify that these trust relationships altered and formed to maturity throughout her fieldwork, finally determining the type and quality of data collected.Russel says Being English, white, aged 23-24 and female influenced students' and teachers' behaviour and affected the nature of the information gathered. I am a white, female, novice ethnographer conducting fieldwork in another country. My age (23-24 at the time of fieldwork), smallness in height and build influenced how students and teachers interacted with me. (Russel, 2005) The ethnographer clearly reveals her research object, though veiled, at many places as gaining an insight into deviant behaviour of non conformist students. She utilized the information gathering tool of 'hanging around' a group of students identified by each school as not being able to 'cope' in school. Ethnographers deemed that shadowing students for a day was an effective way to immediately gaining trust. However the real identification of the researcher with the researched came with her engaging in activities such as playing cards and eating lunch with students sitting on the yard floor during recess which convinced most researched students that ethnographer was after all not a teacher. Due to her age, which was more near to that of students when compared to that of teachers Russel claims that her degree of connection with the students was greater compared to her relations with teachers. In fact her age worked as a passport for her to gain entry into such students' activities.Russel acknowledges that obtention of equal insight from both teachers and students would have been problematic since she wanted to acquire a valid in-depth view of the students' perspective. This revealed her veiled preferred research objective which lay in students' constituency. Russel bases this singling of her research object on the notion that the relationship between the researched and the researcher is unique in ethnography has been recognized ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Ethnographic study is defined as a tool used by cultural anthropologists to study a culture up close and personal, whereas living amongst the people learning, anthropologists detect behaviors and ask questions about cultural norms (Fetterman 2010, p.11). Therefore, their idea is to gather new and direct information on a culture with the perception of the people being studied.
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