Collect qualitative data about the group, issue, or organization you have chosen for your final project focus. Specifically carry out an ethnographic observation of a context connected (even loosely if accessibility is an issue), to your potential fieldwork site. (For example, if you are hoping to research health care in an African setting, you could choose to observe a community-based neighborhood clinic that focuses on immigrants and refugees, for example, or even visit an African expat church, mosque, or community center.) During your observation time, find a way to make it participatory, at least for part of the time. You will very likely have an opportunity to do interviewing in the same context, so be ready with your recorder. For this statement though, be sure to focus on detailed observations of your chosen setting. Note: If an observation connected to your final project/fieldwork focus is not possible, consult with your instructor to see if an additional interview, or some other qualitative data gathering exercise, might substituted for the observation exercise.
For the write up of this assignment, please provide detailed, richly descriptive observation notes. Please include an introductory paragraph stating the date, time and setting of the observation, the identity (if applicable), of the people being observed.
Be sure to include your own emerging insights and interpretive notes to yourself in these documents, either through footnotes or parenthetical comments. In other words, show evidence that you are processing/interpreting the data even as you are collecting it, since that is essential to the processual nature of qualitative research. At the end of your notes, please conclude by describing themes, insights, or possible points of intrigue that you could follow up on if you were to do further research. Remember: The point of this exercise is to help you to find a research question or questions around which to organize your fieldwork proposal.
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