Collaborative Ethnography

Ethnography, to start, is qualitative research where the purpose is to lay out a detailed description of everyday life and practices. Rather than quantitive where findings are just numbers and information, qualitative finds the how’s and why’s. So ‘collaborative ethnography’ is is still finding out these in depth descriptions but rather than the researcher observing the participants, the participants also contribute to research and get something out of it. To collaborate just means to work together.

Lassiter sums up ‘collaborative ethnography as an approach to ethnography that deliberately and explicitly emphasizes collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, from project conceptualization, to fieldwork, and, especially, through the writing process. Collaborative ethnography invites commentary from our consultants and seeks to make that commentary overtly part of the ethnographic text as it develops.’

Relating this to media and media spaces, not only finding how many people watch programs but how they interact with their media is a large aspect of media study. As part of my previous post involving an interview with my dad, we both contributed to the research of how television was used in the past. I asked him questions and as he responded there was a constant dialogue of our different perspectives. Collaborative ethnography can be a simple research method as anyone can do it. It can involve a group of people talking, interviews or in any collaborative setting. The only thing of concern would be bias and different perspectives and how to properly write down the research. The challenge would be how to go about recording so much information on how people use media. A conversation I had with some others in class about our interviews was very interesting, one person’s dad grew up in the Philippines and their experience was very different to my dad who grew up in the country. It is easy to have these collaborative experiences but this method of research does have its own pros and cons.


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