anthropology english

Assignment 2: Project Proposal (second version)

Yongho Kim
Assignment 2: Project Proposal (second version)
September 24, 2004
Ethnographic Interviewing

1. My microculture is a flowershop.
2. The flowershop is located in Minnesota, in on a relatively major avenue. About 20 employees seem to work there. My informant, Sarah, is one of the managers (or so it seems) and I will be talking with the owner of the store on Friday, September 24th 10am to obtain research authorization.
3. The shop is accessible, and the informant is an instructor of structural management at Metro State university. (double edged). Therefore the setting of a research is not so foreign to her. Depending on how it is presented, the owner may contemplate the research as an opportunity for PRing (as Kowalski’s has done)
4. The shop is maybe too accessible, and even under anonymity, informant may be hesitant to disclose information prejudicial to the business (under the premises that information may leak out to fellow students who use the shop). Also, given that informant is a college instructor, it may be hard to break through the “translation” of cultural knowledge.
5. Research with Human Participants Statement
a. Risks: informant may end up fired if delicate situations are not balanced adequately. (slight) corporate environment may make open discussions difficult.
b. Risks can be minimized by frankly explaining all aspects of the interview and research process and making sure that informant understands possible and not-so-likely repercussions of the research.
c. To secure anonymity, the interviews will be stored in tape cassettes which I will keep in a bag with a lock in my room. (I am not sure as to what to do with the keys of the lock, though) I will transcribe the interviews into files that will be saved in my computer with a running password-protected file server system to access them from around the campus. Whenever I draft a transcript, I will shred it using proper machines at the Anthro dept before disposing of it. I will be using pseudonyms throughout the transcription of the interviews. I will write down critical number data in codes, so I’ll worry less about things such as addresses and phone numbers leaking out.
d. I have done this on Thursday, September 23rd. I walked in, talked to the front attendant and explained her a bit lengthly the purpose of my visit. She commented that not many people had time here and introduced me to Sarah, who seemed to be a manager. I introduced myself as a Macalester student taking an anthropology class in which we are to learn interviewing techniques while trying to learn the informant’s perspective as much as possible. I also said that I have a curiosity as for how the task of distributing the work is organized. I explained her that this will involve a series of 7 or 8 interviews over a period of 10 weeks lasting 45 to 60 minutes, resulting in a 30 page academic paper describing his work from a neutral position that will be read only by my professor and me, for which I will receive a grade. I said that I’ll be giving her copies of the final paper. I forgot to mention the use of recorders, but I will explain it during my meeting with the owner. I explained the a strict anonymity would be kept through the use of pseudonyms, careful handling of the data, and avoidance of information that narrows the site or person down. I believe this should give my informant enough information to decide whether or not to partake in the project.

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