Watching Closely: A Guide to Ethnographic Observation

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9780190235529: Watching Closely: A Guide to Ethnographic Observation
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Ethnographers rely on three related activities to conduct research in the field: observation, conversation, and participation. Observing others in their environments and using this data to inform and share conclusions is an essential part of any fieldworker's toolkit. However, many ethnographers' observational muscles tend to be their weakest.

Fortunately, Christena Nippert-Eng's Watching Closely: A Guide to Ethnographic Observation provides a practical, interactive guide for improving one's powers of observation. The book includes nine exercises for practicing observational skills, including a preparatory briefing and post-exercise discussion. Nippert-Eng also offers a weblink (global.oup.com/us/watchingclosely) to sample responses from her previous students, providing an additional resource beyond the text itself. Beyond the traditional tenets of field work, Watching Closely encourages readers to pursue more creative ways of collecting and analyzing data, such as sketching, diagramming, and photography, as well as developing more concrete expectations for the potential uses and meanings of ethnographic data.

Engaging and accessible, Watching Closely offers a guide for readers to not only strengthen their core skills and mindset as fieldworkers, but also to produce research that is more scientifically rigorous and persuasive. From social and behavioral scientists to user-centered designers and architects, undergraduate students to experienced fieldworkers, a vast array of readers will reap the benefits of learning more about how we observe.

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About the Author:


Christena Nippert-Eng is a sociologist and Professor of Informatics at Indiana University Bloomington, and the author of Home and Work: Negotiating Boundaries through Everyday Life and Islands of Privacy: Selective Concealment and Disclosure in Everyday Life.

Review:


"Christena Nippert-Eng usefully reminds us that empirical work of an ethnographic sort begins with, and ultimately rests on, careful, highly disciplined, and reliably documented observation. Watching Closely tells us just how we can accomplish high quality observational work and offers a series of nine clever exercises to help develop and hone our observational skills. Both veteran and wannabe ethnographers will learn from and enjoy Nippert-Eng's often witty treatment of this most fundamental research practice." -John Van Maanen, author of Tales of the Field


"This is an excellent book aimed at a wide audience. Ethnographic methods are used in a range of disciplines, subject areas and settings. This is an excellent contribution as the interactive approach is extremely engaging. Rather than chapters on ethnography as an approach the author has put together nine engaging exercises that take the reader through the issues, concerns and techniques while at the same time assisting them in the development of their imagination and skills as observers. The book is based on a successful course and I can see why the course is successful. Christena Nippert-Eng is an engaging writer who, by using a reflexive and auto-biographical approach, draws in and enthuses the reader.... I know my students would love the book.... This is an excellent contribution."-Kay Peggs, Reader in Sociology, University of Portsmouth


"Short story, I am incredibly enthusiastic about this work.... As an intellectual intervention it is long overdue and as a training manual, it can help make a great difference. I organize my response by the questions present in the cover letter. And I won't repeat yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! though I could.... I don't know of anything like this. Plenty of qualitative methods'texts out there, but the only works on observation I know are precisely for artists, not field workers, or for the general reader (often coffee table books)."-John Levi Martin, Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago


"This is a methods book written for qualitative fieldwork. There are many others. They are typically mechanistic lists of do's and don'ts...This one stands alone. It advocates deep empiricism and provides the tools to get there--in a way that other ethnographic texts and methods courses do not. It is directly 'how to' rather than abstract and remote. Perhaps the most remarkable quality stems from Nippert-Eng's extensive observational studies of non-human species, particularly gorillas at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Watching such animals is her 'laboratory' to become acutely aware of behavior in others and she presses students to come up with analogous ways to sharpen their fieldwork skills.... Her book exercises, and accompanying commentary, aim to instill better ways to watch and understand human beings. Bravo. I think there is vast potential here."-Harvey Molotch, Professor of Sociology, New York University


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Ethnographers rely on three related activities to conduct research in the field: observation, conversation, and participation. Observing others in their environments and using this data to inform and share conclusions is an essential part of any fieldworker's toolkit. However, many ethnographers' observational muscles tend to be their weakest. Fortunately, Christena Nippert-Eng's Watching Closely: A Guide to Ethnographic Observation provides a practical, interactive guide for improving one's powers of observation. The book includes nine exercises for practicing observational skills, including a preparatory briefing and post-exercise discussion. Nippert-Eng also offers a weblink to sample responses from her previous students, providing an additional resource beyond the text itself. Beyond the traditional tenets of field work,Watching Closely encourages readers to pursue more creative ways of collecting and analyzing data, such as sketching, diagramming, and photography, as well as developing more concrete expectations for the potential uses and meanings of ethnographic data. Engaging and accessible, Watching Closely offers a guide for readers to not only strengthen their core skills and mindset as fieldworkers, but also to produce research that is more scientifically rigorous and persuasive. From social and behavioral scientists to user-centered designers and architects, undergraduate students to experienced fieldworkers, a vast array of readers will reap the benefits of learning more about how we observe. Seller Inventory # AOP9780190235529

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ethnographers rely on three related activities to conduct research in the field: observation, conversation, and participation. Observing others in their environments and using this data to inform and share conclusions is an essential part of any fieldworker s toolkit. However, many ethnographers observational muscles tend to be their weakest. Fortunately, Christena Nippert-Eng s Watching Closely: A Guide to Ethnographic Observation provides a practical, interactive guide for improving one s powers of observation. The book includes nine exercises for practicing observational skills, including a preparatory briefing and post-exercise discussion. Nippert-Eng also offers a weblink to sample responses from her previous students, providing an additional resource beyond the text itself. Beyond the traditional tenets of field work, Watching Closely encourages readers to pursue more creative ways of collecting and analyzing data, such as sketching, diagramming, and photography, as well as developing more concrete expectations for the potential uses and meanings of ethnographic data. Engaging and accessible, Watching Closely offers a guide for readers to not only strengthen their core skills and mindset as fieldworkers, but also to produce research that is more scientifically rigorous and persuasive. From social and behavioral scientists to user-centered designers and architects, undergraduate students to experienced fieldworkers, a vast array of readers will reap the benefits of learning more about how we observe. Seller Inventory # AOP9780190235529

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