Ethnographic Methods Utilized By Finkelstein In With No Direction Home

1945 words - 8 pages

With No Direction Home: Homeless Youth on the Road and in the Streets is an ethnography which describes the lives of youths living on the streets of New York City. The author attempts to conduct her own research in order to dispute the false impressions that many previous researches have formed about the youths living on the street. The ethnographic method she uses aids her study of the “street kids” in acknowledging the facts behind their choice of lifestyle and their experiences while on the street. Marni Finklestein received her PhD in Anthropology from the New School of Social Research in New York City. She has also managed to organize many other studies based on drugs and substance abuse as well as sexual assaults in the streets of New York City prior to this study. She accomplishes her goals by interviewing the youths and working with them to gain knowledge about their experiences on the streets. She was also keen to how they manage to survive through all the hardships. Although, some of her methods have been used in the past, she incorporates new methods to seek a deeper understanding of the emotions and thoughts of the street youths in addition to providing a glimpse of people adapt to their new life circumstances.
Marni Finklestein received her PhD primarily on her work focusing on “urban populations at risk” (viii, Finklestein, 2005). She completes her research on street kids in her hometown, of New York City, in order to displays her aspiration of attempting to answer the key questions society has about these youths. “What are the processes that lead kids on the street?” (Preface, Finklestein, 2005) and “What do they experience once they are out there?” (Preface, 2005). The author addresses the questions in a scientific manner, in the ethnography. She begins with a scientific hypothesis, and then interviews the kids themselves in order to support or reject her hypothesis. Finkelstein attempts to accomplish the inevitable task of justifying the youth’s decisions to live on the streets to the rest of society. As many studies have shown kids are most likely to run away from their homes or kicked out by their parents which results in them having to live on the streets; while other studies have portrayed them to be emotionally unstable and a lack of self-esteem to be the reason for their eloping. Finklestein also believes that for a researcher to be successful, they need to recognize the importance of “working with the children” (5, Finklestein, 2005) rather than gathering information by directly asking questions about their lives and background. She chose to utilize many ethnographic methods in order to achieve her goals; she uses interviews as a method of collecting data for studying the similarities and differences between previous studies and that of her own. She interviewed 50 street kids all of various ages to ensure her obtained data is precise. She records all their ages and genders (3, 2005) since street youths have been...

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