Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-11-30
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr

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In Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes,Robert M. Emerson, Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw present a series of guidelines, suggestions, and practical advice for creating useful fieldnotes in a variety of settings, demystifying a process that is often assumed to be intuitive and impossible to teach. Using actual unfinished notes as examples, the authors illustrate options for composing, reviewing, and working fieldnotes into finished texts. They discuss different organizational and descriptive strategies and show how transforming direct observations into vivid descriptions results not simply from good memory but from learning to envision scenes as written. A good ethnographer, they demonstrate, must learn to remember dialogue and movement like an actor, to see colors and shapes like a painter, and to sense moods and rhythms like a poet. This new edition reflects the extensive feedback the authors have received from students and instructors since the first edition was published in 1995. As a result, they have updated the race, class, and gender section, created new sections on coding programs and revising first drafts, and provided new examples of working notes. An essential tool for budding social scientists, the second edition of Writing Ethnographic Fieldnoteswill be invaluable for a new generation of researchers entering the field.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Editionp. ix
Preface to the First Editionp. xiii
Fieldnotes in Ethnographic Researchp. 1
Ethnographic Participationp. 2
The Complexities of Descriptionp. 5
Inscribing Experienced/Observed Realitiesp. 12
Implications for Writing Fieldnotesp. 15
Reflections: Writing Fieldnotes and Ethnographic Practicep. 18
In the Field: Participating, Observing, and Jotting Notesp. 21
Participating in Order to Writep. 24
What Are Jottings?p. 29
Making Jottings: How, Where, and Whenp. 34
Reflections: Writing and Ethnographic Marginalityp. 41
Writing Fieldnotes I: At the Desk, Creating Scenes on a Pagep. 45
Moving from Field to Deskp. 48
Recalling in Order to Writep. 51
Writing Detailed Notes: Depiction of Scenesp. 57
Narrating a Day's Entry: Organizational Strategiesp. 74
In-Process Analytic Writing: Asides and Commentariesp. 79
Reflections: "Writing" and "Reading" Modesp. 85
Writing Field notes II: Multiple Purposes and Stylistic Optionsp. 89
Stance and Audience in Writing Fieldnotesp. 90
Narrating Choices about Perspectivep. 93
Fieldnote Tales: Writing Extended Narrative Segmentsp. 109
Analytic Writing: In-Process Memosp. 123
Reflections: Fieldnotes as Products ofWriting Choicesp. 126
Pursuing Members' Meaningsp. 129
Imposing Exogenous Meaningsp. 131
Representing Members' Meaningsp. 134
Members' Categories in Use: Processes and Problemsp. 151
Race, Gender, Class, and Members' Meaningsp. 158
Local Events and Social Forcesp. 166
Reflections: Using Fieldnotes to Discover/Create Members' Meaningsp. 167
Processing Fieldnotes: Coding and Memoingp. 171
Reading Fieldnotes as a Data Setp. 173
Open Codingp. 175
Writing Code Memosp. 185
Selecting Themesp. 188
Codingp. 191
Integrative Memosp. 193
Reflections: Creating Theory from Fieldnotesp. 197
Writing an Ethnographyp. 201
Developing a Thematic Narrativep. 201
Transposing Fieldnotes into Ethnographic Textp. 206
Producing a Completed Ethnographic Documentp. 229
Reflections: Between Members and Readersp. 241
Conclusionp. 249
Notesp. 249
Referencesp. 269
Indexp. 283
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