Ethnography Reflection Essay

2333 words - 9 pages

1. Raybeck used most of the techniques on page 71 in Thinking Like an Anthropologist. He established key informants including Yusof and Mat, administered oral surveys to prostitutes, collected kin relations, and mapped the community. He also participated in the night guard (jaga) to learn the layout of the community, get to know his fellow villagers, and perform his civic duty. (26, 54-55, 62, 112)
2. Raybeck incorporated life histories and case studies as well as the semantic differential, a psycholinguistic instrument to quantitative analyze the connotations of concepts. Douglas was accompanied by his girlfriend Karen. She could occasionally gain entry into situations where he could not. For example, she was invited to help prepare feasts and eat with the women in the kitchen. Through this network, Karen found the women were willing to talk more openly about their feelings and occasionally heard village gossip before Douglas. Karen also did most of the shopping at the market and learned to bargain from a chicken vendor. (44-47, 94, 99-100, 166, 180, 186-187)
3. Raybeck suggests that a middle ground between qualitative and quantitative data collection is the most effective approach. Raybeck's study of the semantic differential was intended to be scientific. Quantitative approaches, although precise and full of data, omit information and reduce complex situations to just numbers. Raybeck found that interpretive approaches, although imprecise and difficult to replicate, are broad and rely on context to relay deeper meaning. The way Raybeck reports his findings of the community is humanistic. This allows the reader to get a feel for the empathy and context of the situations Raybeck experienced. (90-100, 195-197)
4. Raybeck had a specific set of criteria upon which he based his search for the perfect research site. He rode his underpowered motorcycle from town to town, stopping at the local coffee shops to ask questions when a village looked like it might fit the bill. Raybeck described his efforts as simple and ineffective with one or more of the desired village characteristics missing from each village he visited. He finally asked his friend Amin for a suggestion and Wakaf Bharu was the answer. This village met not only the academic criteria but also Raybeck's personal desires of proximity to transportation and the state capital. Village entry was first gained after Raybeck rented a newly built house. He arranged to take the place of the homeowner on the night guard, making a statement that he was willing to be a member of the community by assuming some responsibilities for the privilege of residence. (22-26)
5. Raybeck admits that the best way to present oneself to a study community is to be persistently honest. He also immediately engages himself in the community by volunteering for the night guard in order to prove his willingness to share in the social life and responsibilities of the village. Despite Raybeck's best efforts to...

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