On May 12th the bioCEED research group had a meeting on ethnography, with special focus on organizational and short-term ethnography. Ethnography is one of the main approaches in qualitative method and we discussed how it can be used to investigate teaching practices, knowledge, and culture. Ethnography doesn’t have to be long term embedded research practices, as often seen in anthropology in the previous century, but can be focused and theoretically informed. The ethnography we discussed is pragmatic, time-limited and employs multiple methods such as observation, video, and interviews.
Some concrete examples of this approach to research can be found when investigating practices through digital means, such as YouTube. In the digital age, knowledge about practices can be gained through videos and other means previously unattainable. Also, expressions of knowledge is often culturally situated, so it is important to investigate individuals in the circumstances they use their knowledge in. For instance, carpenters in their daily work and biologists in the field.
Torstein Nielsen Hole
Ethnography is to describe the lives of people other than ourselves, with an accuracy and sensivity honed by detailed observation and prolonged first-hand experience (Ingoid, 2008).
It´s most characteristic form it involves the ethnographer practicing, overtly or covertly in people’s daily lives for an extended period of time, watching what happens, listening to what is said, asking questions-in fact, collecting whatever data are available to control light on the issues that are the focus of the research (Hammersley and Atkinson, 1996)