|James Spradley and The Ethnographic Interview
||[Feb. 25th, 2015|05:26 pm]
In an online lecture recently, i heard a recommendation that James Spradley's The Ethnographic Interview was the book to read to learn how to ask the right questions: "Map before we meddle." So, through the miracle of ILL i now have this pricy little tome in my hands.
It's a book about doing. The first chapter is on locating an informant for your novice interview.
(1) through enculturation of the informant
(2) current involvement of the informant
(3) unfamiliar scene to the novice ethnographer
(4) adequate time on the part of the informant
(5) non-analytic (ie: not someone who will reply as a sociologist)
It's a fairly odd ordering, because i think the first step is coming up with some potential cultures to examine. I wasn't planning on "doing" but now I'm thinking i'm going to pursue an interview series about Twitter or Tumblr. I don't "get" those platforms, but i know them well enough to know they have their own language and culture that is different from LJ or Dreamwidth culture. I think i know people who are throughly enculturated who might be able to be non-analytic in their responses. (If you feel you are very into twitter or tumblr and would welcome being interviewed - do let me know! You might be one of the folks i have in mind, anyhow!)
One of the things i have found curious in looking into naturalist training is the "You must keep a journal" injunction that assumes paper. This ethnographic instruction requires setting up a notebook and keeping a record, but digital records in 1979 were far more terse than they are today. Current training though, surely must accept that a digital record with crosslinks and various different formats is true to the spirit with additional benefits.
I'm going to keep my field work journal here.
I've already blown the first assignment:
1.1 Make a list of potential informants (or cultural scenes). (...should list 40-50 possibilities)
Emphasis mine: I am so not going to list 40-50.
Heh: i listened to bits of a presentation of biases in decision making. I can see that this process offered in the first section is to help one avoid some of the biases and force one to make a good decision.
The one thing about doing a twitter study is that i get the sense there's a much broader ecosystem of twitter tools than there is with tumblr, and so i ponder whether there's a difference in language shaped by the tools.