In fieldwork, there are many factors to consider when defining the essence of ethnographic methods. Fieldwork is basically used to gather and collect information about a certain community, and this usually involves going out there and participating in the community in some form or manner. Fieldwork is basically made up of observations, participation, and interviewing. Observations are made through the popular participant-observation system. This is where the researcher takes a place in the daily activities carried by with he community members.

This allows researchers to directly experience the explicit culture, which is the culture we can directly see and identify with our eyes. Most importantly, participating in the community allows researchers to see the implicit culture, which is not directly shown and can be observed through the interactions between community members. Being immersed in a community will allow for far greater knowledge acquisition than if you were reading about the community online on a website or article. It takes time and patience to get comfortable enough in an unfamiliar environment, but eventually someone reaches a breakthrough.

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This breakthrough is defined as a moment where the researcher is invited to certain events that are actually exclusive. Note-taking also needs to happen, because it is hard to recall the facts and observations if you don’t record them. The communicative processes used in ethnography is an important, essential topic because this allows the researchers to take information from people in various forms. An important communicative process is interviewing, and there are various types of interviewing. Unstructured or informal interviewing don’t really have a goal in answering a particular question, but rather is used to get more divers data in general. There is also structured interviews, where the information being captured can be quantified. There is something else to keep in mind though, which is the more formal an interview is, the more limited the participants input will be as well. Also, besides interviewing, speaking to community members should involve many open-ended questions. Active listening and active observing are both practices that involve the researcher constantly seeking for clarification and sing follow-up questions.

A very important part of ethnographic methods is the actual reflection of the observations and knowledge acquired. This allows for the research to actually learn from their experiences. This is where the researcher can add their own insights and evaluate the entire experience as a whole. Reflection can normally be done in activities such as journal writing. Self reflection is where you think about your own situation in terms of the community. You can evaluate certain events that happened, and an example of this would be legalizing a mistake that you could have done.

This is part of the process Of constant learning which is to take the mistakes you have done, reflect on them, and try to not allow for the mistake to happen again. This kind of activity produces praxis, which is the relationship between reflective action and critical theorizing. It is important to theorize your activities done within the community because this can help with identifying problems and problem solving. Identifying problems is important in order to help the community or nipping where an exact issue is stemming from in the community.

Problem solving is to aid the issue identified. In conclusion, many of these aspects form a general overview of what ethnography is. These are all important components which complement each other, but are also needed by one another. An example of this is that it would be hard to reflect and theorize if you never engaged in community participation. This would drastically change or minimize your reflections if you chose not to participate, which shows why it is important to understand and carry out each aspect of ethnography.