Full course description
In this skills course, students are introduced to the qualitative research method of ethnography. Following an introduction to ethnographic research, the students of each tutorial group work together on collaboratively developing a research problem and design (related to the role of technology in contemporary society, which relates to the Technological Society course), which can be tackled through a series of individual methodological exercises. Students practice different methods in the ethnographic toolkit, such as conducting participant observation research, online ethnography and qualitative interviews. In bringing together the different exercises in a research report (written individually by each student), we discuss how ethnographic materials can be generated; how the results can be interpreted and analysed; and how ethnographic research can be made robust, valid and reliable.
Upon completion of this skills course, you will be able to:
- understand and explain the main characteristics of ethnographic research
- (collaboratively) define a research problem which is suitable to an ethnographic approach
- apply different ethnographic methods (participant observation, online ethnography, qualitative interviews) to the research problem
- communicate with research participants in a professional and ethically sound manner
- use different ways of recording and documenting research data
- account for and reflect upon methodological choices
- analyse ethnographic materials in relation to the research problem
The core texts for this skills training are:
- Seale, C. (Ed.). (2018), Researching Society and Culture (4th edition) London: Sage.
- Taylor, S. J., R. Bogdan, & DeVault, M. L. (2016). Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (4th edition). Hoboken: Wiley.
Both texts are methodological reference works, which provide useful background information for the research that you will conduct during this skills training.