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Please select a QC (or nearby) location, club meeting, or event as your fieldsite.  Explore!  Introduce yourself and your project and talk to people!  Make observations, take fieldnotes, conduct a few short, open-ended interviews with your key informant(s).   

Some things to have in the back of your mind while doing fieldwork: 

  • your role as researcher;
  • how you gain access and create rapport;
  • who is present and how they define themselves; 
  • how participants in the space/event take part and use the space; 
  • how it is structured; 
  • which social norms are evident; 
  • why it is meaningful to the participants; 
  • how it is contextualized by – how it fits into – the QC experience or to life in Queens/NYC; 
  • and how you could analyze it in a bigger picture (a broader theme or theoretical framework).

Write up your mini-ethnography, to post on Bb and hand in as a hardcopy in class 3/13:

  • 3-4 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font, Times, plus a “works cited” or “references” section.
  • Please use pseudonyms (create a name for each informant) or use initials only, to preserve anonymity.
  • Please include relevant anthropological terms and definitions (cite!) in your introduction and as needed.
  • Remember to add a little contextual information, description, and quantitative data (e.g. numbers for population, participants, or whatever is useful to understand the group and where it fits into life at QC or NYC).
  • Your methodology paragraph should explain how you went about your research and why you chose your fieldsite.
  • You should have at least a paragraph with a vignette (a small moment story) that gives thick description and draws the reader in and shares what it was like to be there, what people told you, etc.
  • Use this example and your fieldwork data to interpret and analyze the situation/place/event.
  • Remember to further contextualize your study by explaining which bigger themes or theoretical approaches can help you further understand your research.
  • Please proofread!
  • No plagiarism.  All work must be original.  Choose a citation style and cite all other opinions and ideas besides your own.
  • No plagiarism please.
  • Format:  Short essay.  Min. 5-6 paragraphs, including intro & conclusion & 3-4 body/evidence ¶

    Length:  Minimum:  550 words to get credit;  

    Ideal:  700-800 words.  Try not to get too wordy beyond that…  

    about 4 pages + citations.

    Double-spaced. 12 point font.  Times or Times Roman.

    Due:Monday March 13, 2017 – submit hardcopy IN CLASS 3/04/17  AND  post to Blackboard before class.

    Submit:  Online via Blackboard, post to the tab called “Journals.”

    Grading:  Worth 10 points.  Score range: 0-10 pts.  


     Journal Prompt:  Ethnographer for a Day.

    • Imagine that you are an ethnographer trying to understand student life at Queens College, NYC.  You will spend one day of fieldwork exploring your fieldsite, talking to key informants, getting the insider perspective, participating in and observing some activity/activities that interest you.  Hint:  find some specific context / locale that you can use as a springboard, for example:  a club meeting, a special lecture, a cultural event, the library, the dining hall, an administrative office, a social situation, a classroom, a bus stop, etc.  You should use your fieldwork notes as a basis for cultural analysis and to write a brief small-moment vignette as evidence. 
      • Sample basic outline, minimum paragraphs:
    • Paragraph #1:  Define anthropology, culture, and ethnography and any other terms you use.  Introduce your project.
    • Paragraph #2:  Describe your topic and locale and mention any sources that would be good to use as background information (sources of statistical data, for ex, in a larger version of your study, not necessarily detailed here).
    • Paragraph #3:  Describe your methodology/ how you carried out your fieldwork:  Explain why/how you chose your fieldsite, what you did, who you talked to and why, participant-observation opportunities you encountered, etc. Remember to use pseudonyms, not real names of informants.
    • Paragraph # 4:  As evidence and to help set the scene, write a one paragraph vignette of one particular moment, based on your experience. Describe the scene vividly.  Include some quotes from people you talked to.
    • Paragraph #5:  Analyze the vignette/moment as a piece of text evidence in an analytic argument that explains what you discovered about life at QC.  Try to do some “thick description” (Geertz)
    • Paragraph #6:  Place your findings in a broader theoretical framework.

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