Friday, April 01, 2005

Chapter Four & Five of The Ethnographic Interview (Spradley, 1979)

Everyone can become an informant. But to select a good informant there are at least five criterias:
1. Thorough enculturation (at least 1 year in the new environment).
2. Current involvement (still in the environment).
3. Unfamiliar cultural scene (thoroughly enculturated informant vs thoroughly unenculturated ethnographer = perfect!).
4. Adequate time (alternatively try "tandem informants" or other people in the same situation).
5. Nonanalytic (to find tacit relationships and patterns).

Three most important ethnographic elements when interviewing informants are:
1. Make clear of explicit purpose so that the interviews can go the more formal direction.
2. Constantly make ethnographic explanations on what the project is all about, on writing things down or taping, not to use translation competence (in native language, please!), what method of interview will be used this time (if it takes many days), and which kind of question you are going to use.
3. Ethnographic questions: Descriptive (grand tour.., typical day..), Structural (what are all the kinds of.., ways to..), Contrast questions (comparative).

Elements of an interview would be like this:
1. Greetings
2. Giving ethnographic explanations
3. Asking ethnographic questions
4. Asymmetrical turn taking
5. Expressing interest
6. Expressing cultural ignorance
7. Repeating
8. Restating informant's terms
9. Incorporating informant's terms
10. Creating hypothetical situations
11. Asking friendly questions
12. Taking leave

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