Memo 3

Migrating to America

Reflection 3:

For this assignment, you will conduct research on your own on a topic using a specific research method. You have the option of using one of four research methods: ethnography/participant observation; netnography; content analysis; experiment.  

You should revisit Chapter 3 of the textbook to review the specific research method you plan to use for this assignment.

You will write up your findings and results in a 3 page double-spaced paper.

Option 1:  Ethnography

For this research method, you will use ethnography, a qualitative method based on observations (sometimes also “participant observation”) of individuals and groups in a particular setting, situation, or context.

See Exercise 3.1 “Ethnography”.  Ethnography

 In addition to the exercise instructions, pay attention to, and take notes on, the following: 

  • The social location/statuses (gender, race, age, and others) of those present and whether there are patterns related to all of the above. 
  • You must use at least 3 terms/concepts from the textbook.
  • Thanksgiving Special: consider doing an ethnography of your family Thanksgiving gathering, or what you and your family do on Thanksgiving if you don’t celebrate it.  For this option, you should consider what roles people play at the gathering.  How do statuses (gender, age, etc.) play into who does what?  How is the space at the gathering place divided by things such as age, gender, etc.?  What are the norms?  Did anything unusual happen this year?  

Option 2:  Content Analysis  

For this research method, you will analyze cultural objects such as newspapers or magazines, visual images, films and TV series, and advertisements. 

See Exercise 5.4 “The Hidden Curriculum” Hidden Curriculum as well as the video on the Bechdel Test for an example. 

  • You may choose a book, magazine, online publication, movie, TV episode, or any other cultural product that is public.  You will have to choose what about your object of study is of interest to you (for example, the groups they reflect or represent, e.g. race, gender, class; the stories they tell; the norms they reflect or suggest)
  • You must do both quantitative or qualitative analysis of the object.  For quantitative analysis, you will analyze the objects by sorting them into different categories and/or counting the number of times specific things are found in them which interest you. For qualitative analysis, you should focus on interpreting the story, interactions, or events that take place and why they are sociologically significant.
  • You must use at least 3 terms/concepts from the textbook.

Option 3:  Experiment  

For this research method, you will conduct an experiment using ethnomethodology, involving yourself and other individuals who are unaware that you are conducting an experiment.

See D2L Exercise 6.2 “Breaching Folkways”.  Experiment – Breaching Folkways Substitute your own example/behavior for Step 1.  Follow the remaining instructions as they are.

  • You must use at least 3 terms/concepts from Chapter 6 or the Conley “Methods” reading (Week 3, D2L) in your paper.

Option 4: Netnography

This project is like a mix of content analysis and regular ethnography above, except that you will analyze interactions on social media platforms.

  • Watch this video on Netnography. 
  • Review the D2L post “Putting the Self in Selfies” 
  • Choose a thread or a topic on a public* social media platform where there is or has been a lot of exchange/commentary/responses. 
  • Describe the online setting and community.  Was the post made in a public forum or in a members-only group?  What is the group/forum called?  How large is the community or audience?  Is there a clear demographic group targeted or involved? 
  • Analyze and describe the responses to the post and interactions among them. 
    • What sub-topics came out of the original topic?
    • Which responses are most liked or popular? 
      • What did the responses focus on?
    • Which responses are unanswered or dropped?
    • What was the timing of responses?  Which responses did people respond quickly or slowly to?
    • Did the main post topic change by the time of the last post?
    • Were interactions conflictual?  If so, which ones?
    • Discuss the “who” of the posting, to the best of your ability, in terms of categories such as age, gender, race, etc. 
  • You must use at least 3 terms/concepts from the textbook.

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