KW 3.1 Ethnography

  • To sit down and “people watch” I chose to do it in a mixed area, this place had sort of a store setting, sort of a gas stop setting, and sort of a food court setting. There were tables and chairs set up (probably about 10 tables with 4 or so chairs around them) inside a sort of gated off sections near what was a counter with meats and behind it as well as 3 large TVs with food options and 3 others with television programs on them.
  • I fit into this setting because it is a social place for people to sit down and stay for a while. Possibly even a place for most to sit, work, eat or socialize, it is also close to a school and most people probably view me as a school student working on homework. Few people notice me while I observe but I do not think that any of them notice that I am observing them, this is probably in part because they possibly think I am working.
  • In the 15 minutes or so that I spent observing I took notes, the following are my observations where WW=White woman, WM=White male, and LM=Latino male. 1WW stands behind the counter, 1WM sitting at a table in front and to the right of me. Now one LM approaches the counter and has a verbal exchange with the WM behind the counter. Another WM approaches and sits with the other WM at the table 1 row up and to the right of me, the second WM then pulls out a phone, gets up again and walks away. The verbal exchange at the counter is over and the LM hands the WW behind the counter something she hands something back after some time. The LM  turns in my direction and notices me at the table but looks away quickly after eye contact and sits at the table in front of the WM. WM then gets up from table and approaches counter, and takes cups from WW behind the counter, then leaves area. 1WW approaches kiosk near counter WW behind the counter comes around front and approaches WW at kiosk. 1WM comes from back with cart and boxes, proceeds to move things in store and leaves area. 1WM returns to table with cups and chips, the other WM returns to table as well. Another 1WM enters gated in food area with papers in hand, sets papers at table behind and to the right of me, then proceeds to the counter behind the WW. 1WW behind counter approaches counter and WM approaches, verbal exchange happens. 2WM at table eat chips, 1WM occupied by phone and other WM occupied by TV. LM from back brings 2WM at table food, returns to back. 2WM now eat food brought out. 2WW behind counter doing things, LM approaches counter and gives WM food and WM returns to table behind me. LM behind counter notices me, then returns to back room with windows and 2WW behind counter follow. 1WM from table in front and to right of me gets up, approaches counter, grabs something  and returns to table. 1WW behind counter has verbal exchanges with him then returns to back. 1WM at table behind me looks at papers. 1WW approaches counter from back with brown bag, exchanges words with woman at kiosk, WW at kiosk takes bag from WW behind the counter then leaves. WW behind counter notices me then looks away and returns to back.
  • A) Patterns I saw here were that people tend to look away fast when noticing me and making eye contact with me or others. Most everyone made verbal interactions with someone behind the counter and mostly only with a person behind the counter. Most people were occupied by something whether it be phones, TVs, papers, etc. Mostly everyone sat down at a table at some point in their visit. B) I think this reveals that most people are “anti-social” or uncomfortable interacting with people they are not familiar with or that crowds make many people uncomfortable as well. I think it also reveals that this is more of a place of “the business of eating” then it is for a break, relaxations, or socialization. C) I think this is true because most people seem to rather keep themselves preoccupied with other things then socialize, and everyone once they got their food either promptly left or sat down and ate it quickly and then promptly left without a word. Also most everyone that noticed me or made eye contact with me or others looks away quickly. D) Another explanation for this could be that people are working and are here for a limited amount of time thus they want to eat and leave as fast as possible. E) To know which explanation this really is I would have to study the working schedules of people in California and probably these peoples schedules in specific. I would also probably need to study their relationships with others in the area as well as habits and eating schedules, etc.
  • the pros of this kind of research are that you can observe with little to no influence on the surrounding area and people and their actions and interactions. It also allows you to see things from a different perspective, from the outside so without bias. Also this is a very cheap and easy form of data collection. Some cons of this type of data collection would be that your presence could have some sort of unknown effect on the people, their actions, and interactions. If you are not careful things can also be read into in this kind of research because details are not given and are hard to observe since there is no evidence to back anything. Some information may be missing because we do not see the motivation or reasons behind the actions.
  • As a preferred method of data collections I would say I would choose ethnography/observation because the biggest factor of having a non-bias stand point. Also the fact that your presence most likely does not have an influence on what is happening outweighs most of the cons. As most things it just depends, it depends on the study I am conducting and what kind of data collection I need but in general I feel that this is a good form of data collection.
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