Main Steps of Applied Ethnographic Field Research |
The concept of participant observation is a very general and unstructured approach to ethnographic field research. The most successful and impressive examples are those in which the researcher(s) have plenty of time, and their mission is to describe and analyze cultural activities that are limited to a specific community or small set of communities or institutional facilities. It would be difficult to use this method effectively. Even in small-scale studies with relatively comfortable time frames, ethnographers should plan carefully structured observations for key aspects of cultural activities about which they need accurate and relatively full details. Many study 'populations' are organizations that have a variety of meetings: some are regular weekly or monthly gatherings for planning activities, problem-solving, hearing reports from different work sectors, and others may be for staff training and for orientations concerning policy changes. As in all situations of participant observation, meetings are events from which one can develop various forms of semi-structured interviews with key individuals.