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Just one more class

I couldn’t help myself from signing up for another class this term. Technically I don’t need to take any more classes, but by the time one reaches a PhD program, is one really taking classes because she needs to? I think not.

So, what class could I not resist? Video Ethnography! We had our first session on Tuesday, and I am so glad I decided to enroll. I’ve found a room full of people (I think) who want to start with hunches that something interesting is happening rather than with some abstracted research question. To you, this may sound insignificant or even backwards, but I AM SO EXCITED! I would love to start from “hm, that’s interesting” rather than, “I hypothesize that,” and now I’m not alone. Yes, I realize I’ve probably not been alone all along, but that’s not the issue right now.

Curtis LeBaron is teaching the class and visiting at Michigan for I think just this term. Normally, you can find him at BYU.

Taking the video ethnography class allows me to learn a new method, hopefully one that I can use for my own research, and to spend some serious quality time with other qualitative researchers. Especially after two days surrounded by computer scientists, that will be a welcome change. The “scientific method” slide I saw yesterday made me sad. It perpetuates the myths that science is a straightforward endeavor and that there is one best way to go about “doing science.” You know better.


  • Noor |

    Sounds interesting. So what is video ethnography? Is it analyzing already created videos by participants (i.e. home movies)? Or is it using video cameras to help participants express themselves?

    Inquiring user researchers want to know!

  • libbyh |

    According to my syllabus, it’s “a convergence of competencies from various disciplines devoted to the study human behavior, activity, and culture.” We’re analyzing videos recorded by researchers of some set of someone’s normal activity such as a regular board meeting or a doctor-patient consultation. I’ll let you know more as I learn more!

    Oh, Lucy Suchman’s work in Plans and Situated Actions and Human-Machine Reconfigurations talks about video ethnography and what you can get from its data. She probably wrote some articles that would be easier to get ahold of and read too. More to come…

So, what do you think ?

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