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In Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes,Robert M. Emerson, Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw present a series of guidelines, suggestions, and practical advice for creating useful fieldnotes in a variety of settings, demystifying a process that is often assumed to be intuitive and impossible to teach. Using actual unfinished notes as examples, the authors illustrate options for composing, reviewing, and working fieldnotes into finished texts. They discuss different organizational and descriptive strategies and show how transforming direct observations into vivid descriptions results not simply from good memory but from learning to envision scenes as written. A good ethnographer, they demonstrate, must learn to remember dialogue and movement like an actor, to see colors and shapes like a painter, and to sense moods and rhythms like a poet. This new edition reflects the extensive feedback the authors have received from students and instructors since the first edition was published in 1995. As a result, they have updated the race, class, and gender section, created new sections on coding programs and revising first drafts, and provided new examples of working notes. An essential tool for budding social scientists, the second edition of Writing Ethnographic Fieldnoteswill be invaluable for a new generation of researchers entering the field.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Fieldnotes in Ethnographic Research
The Complexities of Description
Inscribing Experienced/Observed Realities
Implications for Writing Fieldnotes
Reflections: Writing Fieldnotes and Ethnographic Practice
In the Field: Participating, Observing, and Jotting Notes
Participating in Order to Write
What Are Jottings?
Making Jottings: How, Where, and When
Reflections: Writing and Ethnographic Marginality
Writing Fieldnotes I: At the Desk, Creating Scenes on a Page
Moving from Field to Desk
Recalling in Order to Write
Writing Detailed Notes: Depiction of Scenes
Narrating a Day's Entry: Organizational Strategies
In-Process Analytic Writing: Asides and Commentaries
Reflections: "Writing" and "Reading" Modes
Writing Field notes II: Multiple Purposes and Stylistic Options