Getting a feel for the ethnographic process

We’ve been in Glasgow for about 3 days now and the group has begun the process of settling on a group to study and then finding informants that will agree to let you interview them.I have found that the process of finding informants can be a challenging one.

Right before coming to Glasgow, I was pretty set on the idea of studying makeup artists, particularly makeup artists in department stores. On Wednesday, I decided to bite the bullet, go into a shop and ask about interviewing them. I talked to a bubbly young woman who was very excited about the prospect of being interviewed. I walked out of the shop confident that I had found an informant. However, I went back to the same shop and talked to a different woman who told me that I needed to get permission from the company before I could proceed with the interviewing process. I went back to the apartments and tried to decide what my next step would be. I emailed the company and explained what I am studying and why, but I am still waiting to hear back from them.

On Friday, I finally stumbled upon what may be my breakthrough. I walked into one of the main shopping centers in Glasgow and went into one of the department stores within the shopping center. While I was there I talked to a supervisor about interviewing and observing the makeup artists at the store. He was very helpful and confident that there wouldn’t be a problem with me conducting interviews and doing observations. When I returned to the apartment, Ariel told me that her potential informants were excited and willing to talk with her and have her observe. It’s really exciting seeing everyone’s projects taking form.

While the process of finding informants can be challenging and daunting, I believe there will be major benefits when the research is compiled at the end.

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One Response to Getting a feel for the ethnographic process

  1. Tom Wells says:

    It will be interesting to read about what the locals have to say. Might have to loosen them up with some good single malt first–or–maybe the ones doing the interviews will need the single malt.

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