Visual Sociology at QC

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Mini Fieldwork Experience

March 3rd, 2010 · No Comments
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This in-class project is designed to give you a first, ‘low-key’ experience in the field and some practice with photo elicitation. It’s meant to be a playful experience where ‘trial and error’ may (and will) occur. So, stretch your creative muscles and have fun!

For this project, you will work in groups of two, assuming one of following roles:

– Dr. Researcher (introduces the topic, asks the participant questions, takes notes, leads the interview)

– Señor / Señora Participant (responds to questions, takes pictures, participates in photo-elicitation)

(If we have time we will do a second round and switch roles.)

First, sit down with your teammate and decide which role each of you will assume for the first round.

Second, imagine, you are part of a study on the quality of student life on Queens College campus. Together, pick one of the following topics to focus your research on:

– the quality of dining facilities on Queens College campus, or

– necessary improvements on Queens College campus.

Third, if you are Dr. Researcher, think about what it is you would like to find out. How would you introduce your topic to your participant in a few sentences? Also, write down a few open-ended questions you might want to ask your participant while walking with him/her on campus. Make sure you don’t just ask “where do you like to eat?” but to find out *why* your participants like or dislike a particular spot, or *why* they feel certain improvements should be made. (This is somewhat free time for Señor/Señora Participant but you should use it to think about where you want to take Dr. Researcher on campus, or prepare your round as a reseacher!)

Fourth, Dr. Researcher introduces his/her participant to the research topic and starts asking a few initial questions. The participant answers the questions — both verbally as well as visually by taking the researcher to places on campus, and emphasizing his/her points through pictures (taken either by the researcher or the participant). If you are the researcher don’t forget to take good field notes!

Fifth, come back to class. Sit down together and go over the pictures again, the researcher asking more (clarifying) questions and the participant explaining his point in more detail (this is called photo-elicitation…). Finish your fieldnotes.

Sixth, switch roles/topics and repeat this process for round 2, if we have the time.

Seventh, write a critical reflection of your experience, about both roles you assumed. Describe the fieldwork experience (topic and setting, questions that were asked, places that you visited, responses from the participant) and post two pictures from one of the rounds you participated in. Critically reflect on both roles — what did you like/didn’t like during the experience, and why? What was easy/hard, and why? What would you do different next time, or in your own research? — Be critical, about your own role and your teammate’s — we all know we are great but it’s candid advise that will help us get even better. 🙂

Please post your entries (2-3 paragraphs of text plus 2 pictures) by next Sunday, March 7, at noon on your blogs.

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