If you haven’t already, click here to check out Part 1 of this series where I share my idea for my ethnography study 🙂
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Varis (2014) explores research methodologies in their article, stating
“Ethnography as an approach in any case is methodologically flexible and adaptive: it does not confine itself to following specific procedures, but rather remains open to issues arising from the field”.
My research focuses on multiple lectures, including: Week 6 (Digital ethnography), Week 5 (Auto-ethnography) and Week 4 (Television in the Home). Knowing there was no set rule book I must follow, I established a set of mixed methodologies using three modes of data collection found in Sangasubana’s (2011) article: observation, archival research and interviewing.
Observation is “the act of perceiving the activities and interrelationships of people in the field setting”. Within my study, I will use participant observation to explore behaviours of my family in the home. I will be taking a model from the Week 8 which discusses techniques of data collecting which include: lurking, active engagement and participant observation. When conducting my observations, I will experiment with each of these techniques.
Archival research is “the analysis of existing materials stored for research, service or other purposes officially and unofficially”. Archival research is essential to my study in order for me to see previous papers on family fandoms and/or explore Seinfeld fandoms that are online. I will be searching for any statistics, models or practices I can find on the topic and using it to extend the research or inspire a new pathway to explore for my own research.
Interviewing is “the process of directing conversation to collect information”. If I find observation and archival research does not allow for enough data collection I will conduct interviews with each family member, exploring their own views and personal fandom experiences in relation to the show (if any).
As of now, I believe posting my updates from my study as blog posts is the best platform for my area of study as I can easily share any progress and findings I have along the way as smaller, individual blog posts. This was also my main choice as blog posts allow me to embed phots, videos, hyperlink to sources and experiment with layouts of posts which will lead to engaging and interactive posts. The platform will also allow for me to categorise the posts into the one location to allow for easy access.
Due to my research being conducted specifically on my immediate family, communicating will be direct and two-way. In terms of communicating with stakeholders, I will ensure my research is up-to-date on my blog and all found in the one area to allow for easy access. I will encourage communication to be two-way and direct any messages to my Twitter.
As for any research project, there are ethical standards I must follow in conducting my ethnographic study which I will do by using the MEAA Code of Ethics. There are two main points within these guidelines I view to be the most important:
“Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts”.
This is relevant when gathering data from any individuals or sources. Within my own study, I will be engaging with members of my family. Although my topic may not be deemed sensitive, it is important I represent them accurately and in a way that they approve of.
“Aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the sources motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances”.
This guideline is also relevant to my study as I am working with individuals and may wish to disclose their identity within my work. This guideline comes into play as I will need each individual’s permission before using their data and profiles. As my study is only being conducted on my immediate family the requirements and process can be easily discussed with them, however as participants of a research project, it is important I remain professional and ethical, respecting their desires when it comes to their identity and any information they disclose.
Coleman, S., Simpson, B., n.d., ‘Glossary of Terms’, Royal Anthropological Institute, date accessed 10/10/19, https://www.discoveranthropology.org.uk/about-anthropology/glossaryofterms.html
MEAA 2019, MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics, date accessed 12/10/19, https://www.meaa.org/meaa-media/code-of-ethics/
Sangasubana, N., 2011, ‘How to Conduct Ethnographic Research’, TQR, Vol. 16(2), date accessed 12/10/19, https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1071&context=tqr
Varis, P., 2014, ‘Digital Ethnography’, Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies, Tilburg University, date accessed 9/10/19, https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/sites/tiu/files/download/TPCS_104_Varis_2.pdf