As I prepare for my supervisory meeting this week, I’m reminded of the previous meeting when I offered this rendering (It’s a much smaller version of the full one and I’m far from happy with the way it displays what I want, but … well, compromise!). It’s an attempt to show some of the activity I’ve been engaged in as a participant observer, but also a little more than that. It serves several functions, providing:
- a visual record of what came to my attention and whether I chose to interact;
- direct hyperlinks back to the tweets, sites, posts or comments i.e. the original data which attracted my gaze;
- a precis of the information/data behind that data point;
- my observational comments – why it attracted my attention, what I thought and what I did; and
- a kickstart of the process of analysis.
This sits alongside a slightly more conventional set of field notes, although much more brief than the notes which might usually accompany field work. I didn’t see them as needing to capture all the rich detail of the people in view – what they were doing and trying to achieve, what and how they communicated and so on. My notes certainly bear little resemblance to those of traditional ethnography, but then this isn’t a traditional ethnography.Read More »