The Process of Writing Up Reflections: "Writing” and “Reading" Modes Emerson, Robert M. Writing ethnographic fieldnotes / Robert M. Emerson, Rachel . Request PDF on ResearchGate | Writing Ethnographic Field Notes | In this companion volume John van Maanen's Tales of the Field, three scholars reveal how. Writing ethnographic fieldnotes, by Emerson, Robert, Rachel Fretz and Linda Shaw. NOURA KAMAL. Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Emerson, Robert M. Writing ethnographic fieldnotes / Robert M. Emerson, Rachel I. Fretz, Linda L. Shaw. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes – Robert M. Emerson Ethnographic field research involves the study of groups and people as they go about their everyday . participant observation and in how they go about representing in written form what and present processes of writing and analyzing ethnographic fieldnotes in.
Emerson, Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw present a series of guidelines, suggestions, and practical advice for creating useful fieldnotes in a variety of settings, demystifying a process that is often assumed to be intuitive and impossible to teach. Using actual unfinished notes as examples, the authors illustrate options for composing, reviewing, and working fieldnotes into finished texts. They discuss different organizational and descriptive strategies and show how transforming direct observations into vivid descriptions results not simply from good memory but from learning to envision scenes as written. A good ethnographer, they demonstrate, must learn to remember dialogue and movement like an actor, to see colors and shapes like a painter, and to sense moods and rhythms like a poet. This new edition reflects the extensive feedback the authors have received from students and instructors since the first edition was published in
Ralph's Express Line, Easter Morning I headed east to the checkout stands with my romaine lettuce, to garnish the rice salad 1 was bringing to brunch, and my bottle of Gewurtztraminer, my new favorite wine, which I had to chill in the next half hour. As I approached the stands, I realized that the items-or-less-cash-only line would be my best choice.
She had left one of the rubber separator bars behind the things she was going to huy, one of the few personal friendly moves one can make in this highly routinized queue. Hio11 of l hecking out. She was a pretty blonde woman, and was downloading a b ttle of charnpagne maybe also tor Easter brunch? She was wearing what 1 oked like an Easter dress-it was cotton, and pretty and flowery.
She looked y ungish. Maybe about my age. She was quite tall for a woman, maybe 5'10" f so. The wbman in front of me didn't take long at all. Boland, the checker, saw me, and said, "Hi! How's it going?
This observer describes moving through the line as she experienced the process on a moment by moment basis, frarning her accounts of others' behaviors as she received, understood, and reacted to them. This style of description gives the reader unique access to the observer's thoughts and emotions; for example, while space is an issue, it is framed in terms not of distance but of its implications for self and feelings e.
In the next excerpt, the writer shifts his focus from self to others: Boy's Market Express Line I picked a long line. Even though the store was quiet, the express line was long. A lot of people had made small downloads today.
There was a cart to the side of him, just sitting there, and I thought someone abandoned it it had a few items in it. A minute later a man carne up and "claimed" it by taking hold of it. He didn't really try to assert that he was back in line- apparently he'd stepped away to get something he'd forgot- ten-but he wasn't getting behind me either.
I felt the need to ask him if he was on line, so I wouldn't cut him off He said yes, and 1 tried to move behind him-we were sort of side by side-and he said, "That's okay. She had her groceries in one of those carts that old people tend to use to wheel their groceries home.
She was thurnbing through the Nacional Enquirer, and was clutching a coupon in her hand. She scanned a few pages of the paper, and then put it back in the rack. He was lookmg at what w. He carne back over to his cart, but then a supermarket elllployee walked by,. The guy on line s. This is formula f cans of baby formulal That's poor peopl e's food. And see this [a copper pot scrubberj?
They use that to smoke crack.
The guy says, "I was just wondering. That's very indi tiv f this area. M anwhile the man with the bread has paid. Man with bread leaves, guy in front of me is being checked out now. He says to the cashier, "What's the matter, end of your shift? No sense of humor left?
Jacob complies, but shows no other sign tliat he's heard the man. Guy is waiting for transaction to be completed. He's sitting on the railing, and he is singing the words to the Muzak tune that's playing. Something by Peabo Bryson. Guy's transaction is done. He says thank you to the bagger, and the bagger tells him to have a good day.
Cashier says, "How are you doing? In these notes the observer initially writes himself into a prominent role in the line, but then he moves hirnself offstage by spotlighting another character who says and does a nurnber of flamboyant things as he waits and then gets checked out.
This express line becornes a mini-community, first rnarked by ongoing exchanges between those in line, then drawing in a passing store ernployee, and culminating in interactions between this character and the checker and bagger. Writing fieldnote descriptions, then, is not so rnuch a rnatter of pas- sively copying down "facts" about "what happened. As a result , similar even the "same" events can be described for different purposes, with diffcrcnt scns1tiv1ties and concerns.
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Would you also like to submit a review for this item? You already recently rated this item. Rather, these effects might provide the very source of that learning and observation Clarke Many contemporary ethnographers assume highly participatory roles Adler and Adler in which the researcher actually performs the activities that are central to the lives of those studied.
In this View, assum- ing real responsibility for actually carrying out core functions and tasks, as in service learning internships, provides special opportunities to get close to, participate in, and experience life in previously unknown settings.
The intern with real work responsibilities or the researcher participating in vil- lage life actively engages in local activities and is socialized to, and acquires empathy for, local ways of acting and feeling. Rather, be- cause descriptions involve issues of perception and interpretation, different descriptions of similar or even the same situations and events are both pos- sible and valuable.
Consider, for example, the following descriptions of express checkout lines in three Los Angeles supermarkets, each written by a different student researcher. She was in a white blouse, short sleeved, with a maroon shoulder to mid thigh apron.
Candy spent very little time with each person, she gave all a hello and then told them the amount, money was offered, and change was handed back onto a shelfthat was in front of the customer whose turn it was.
Indeed, this description highlights spatial aspects of the grocery line, contrasting in an aside the care taken to separate grocery items and the seeming disregard of personal space as one shopper moves in to succeed an about-to-depart one. In contrast, in the following excerpt, the observer focuses on her own po- sition and experience in line, highlighting her own social and interactional concerns in relating to those immediately in front of and behind her.
As I approached the stands, I realized that the 10—items—or—less-cash-only line would be my best choice. She had left one of the rubber separator bars behind the things she was going to download, one of the few personal friendly moves one can make in this highly routinized queue. I appreciated this, and would have thanked her by smil- ing, probably , but she was already looking ahead, I suppose, in anticipation of checking out.
There was already someone behind me.