Doing ethnography is central May 21, 2007Posted by Malene Charlotte Larsen in Academic, Ethnography, Research.
I have been meaning to write something about the PlaceMe workshop I attended in Stockholm about data collection and transcribing multimodal and mediated interactions. The workshop was lead by Professor Lorenza Mondada who has been working with video data for more than 20 years. One of her key points during the lectures was that doing ethnography is essential in relation to video recordings. One must always do fieldwork for a period of time before doing the actual video recording. This will not only establish trust with the participants, but also make your data better since it will help you identity the central and relevant activities within the field.
This message is very much in line with another workshop I attended last Monday on interdisciplinary discourse studies at Center for Discourse Studies with Professor Srikant Sarangi as key note speaker. During his talk Sarangi pointed to the fact that combining ethnography and discourse studies is central in order to understand professionals’ practice. One must not underestimate the value of a long term informal ethnography in order to understand the “native knowledge” that exists in a particular setting.
I think that these points about ethnography are central to almost all humanistic research – especially, when you are trying to really understand social practice. Therefore these points are also relevant to my PhD project on understanding youngsters and online social networking and ethnography is definitely something that I (still) will be working with – both online and offline 🙂