JOI achel stays in . . for nine rnont:~o~lcdge of social in Euroi>C . rnproving her hropology of aoerl>ndge. 1 especially the . ant reading aboul ant/\rOPOlndogyo.t' rnaritirnc soc1e11es, "d learning E,,ft.,,,,. a . of spain. .... . "':'Y" anJ other regions cks appropn-Gahc1a Then she P . d 1 die GaJician language. ment for collecnng a d ate clothes and equ1p ra. minidisk recorder,fian uch as a digital carne and sets off rom
~ots of noteboOks and ~:~'antander. When she Boarbridgc for the ferry d. for Galicia, and lands in Spain she hea ,; where she will hve searches out a fishing v~a~he has to try severa! for the next ycar o~ n~ ~ one that has a bus villages befare sho in has a family who are service to the nearest town, and has fishing boats prepared to rent her a.room. rch is similar to that still working. Rache! ~~e:::rg. 1988), American done by Canad1an (~6 Australian (Jusi, 2000) (Recd-Danahay, 19 d ),1996) anthropologists in and Bnnsh Goddar . Europe over the past ~h17~:: the same time,
Lucilla MaJonban s s rvisor Dr Henry d d des with her supe an ec1 h 11 do an ethnography of stu-
Ccntum, .1h.at s e ;:; laboratory technicians at a
~:e:~~~~7i~~ (vocacional) college. Tbh~re is a ata college, 'Midhurst', m Boar n ge, so
~~~can live at home'. She spends about s1~ months reviewing the literature on vocauona education on laboratory technicians, on sc1ence and tech~ology education and on . quahtauve
thods Dr Centum insists that Luc1lla wntes a ~ o.her methods chapter, a review of the lilerature. and a 2000-word paper on her fore-shadowed problems, thal is, che ideas she expects
10 develop during the observauon. On~e her ideas are clear, Lucilla writes to the Pnnc1pal of Midhursl College. to ask for access both to the institution and to the specific course. He agrees, and despatches her to the staff who teach it; they agree, and she is able to start her data collecuon with a fresh cohon of students in September, a year after she began to be a student. (Outwith the USA clearance from Human Subject Committees is needed only for medica) research.) This will produce a sociologicaJ ethnography of an educa-tional institution like those done by American (Raissiguier, 1994; Valli, 1986), Australian (Walker, 1988) and British (Gleeson and Mardle, 1980; Riseborough, 1993) investigators.
Meanwhile in Galicia, Rachel starts her field-work. Tbe most imponant pan is living in the village, and watching what goes on. When it is not feasible to join in, she will watch what she is allow~ to. Once the villagers have got used to her ~mg around, watching is supplemented with talkmg. Rache) talles informally to everyone ~ble, does formal interviews with people,
collecting their family trees and he . stories, plus gathcring folk tales ilnng lheir 1. k and ~ lfe tening to goss1p, JO es and leg ds""ngs 1. . 1 en A 1:. worker 1s hke Y to draw maps of th . fie)d the insides of houses, of the grave e V11Jage
J Yard d' of of the seatmg P ans at weddings 0 ~
1!llarns layout of fishing boats and anythin r Unerais, !he a spatial angle. Rache) will count ~ else lhat has residents in the village, count the fi e hnull'lber of measure the sizes of fields, orcha;~ ing boais iures, count cows, sheep and pigs, esitnd J>as'. size of the fishmg catch, work out h lllate the courists come, how many ~copie get the: ll'lany day, how many cars, taxis, motor scao USeach even bicycles there are, how many u . ters and school and so on. P P1ls in !he
Jt will be important to hear wh Galician and who does not, and whc
0 8Jleaks and Castilian (Spanish) are used. lf; Gahcian allowed on a fishing boat she will go .facheJ is will find out why women are not allo~ dnot she on them. The lives of the women wi)) e to sail be eas.icr for her to ob~erve than those 0~~~bly there 1s separallst pol.1t1cal activity, Rache! n. _ir try to attend any mectmgs, meet the acti . wiH
h . . . v1s1s and
discover w at 1s motlvatmg them. A.pan fro what she can s.ee, and what she can Jeam b /" tening and askmg, there may also be docu Y is.
1 . h d d . ments Rache m1g t spen ays m the provincial . tal working on municipal archiva! material capi-
h d I ).. ,Otm
the cal e ra or ecc es1ast1cal records, or both lf the Galician regionalist movement has produ~ed newsletters, pamphlets or books, these will ali be read. Rache) m1ght get the schoolchildren to write her something, or ask to read letters senr home by villagers living abroad.
While Rachel is in Galicia, Lucilla is doing her ethnography ofthe students in the vocational col-lege, in Boarbridge. Lucilla can intersperse her data collection with teaching undergraduates, going to seminars, seeing her supervisor every week and using the library. She is only in the field for short periods of sorne days, does not have to leam a foreign language or eat strange food. She goes to the college nearly every day, sits in the lectures and workshops, writing pages and pages of fieldnotes. She interviews the lecturers, formally and informally, and she hangs out with the students, sometimes going out with them socially. She talks to them in their breaks, and she interviews them formally too.
One difference between Rache! and Lucilla's fieldwork is the focus of the research. Lucilla and Dr Centum try to keep very tightly focused on pre-specified tapie: the occupational soc1ahza-tion and student culture of the trainee laboratory technicians (see Coffey and Atkinson, 1994). To gather data on the catering staff, or the fine art
ETHNOGRAPHY ANO PART1c1PANT
Ol!ISEitv . course, or the people takmg academ ..t.T10N 1111on 1 Id be . ic d
p.-CI t night schoo ' ~ou a d1straction one, she sta . 20
110 n with people . . s0mc1imcs luiPJ'C who atiandon
1111i-C lbi> ~\ 11talth scmng rse but it 1s do1ni: fid irai~ as a doctor or/c~~caiion or of sociollllll' 11' . .... ~iologY 0
nol e. . .. h and carcers look settlll'c 1 nd Lucilla's ri.'SCarcl 1fy as anrhro-Rachc a h rd io e ass h . . nJ ~ not a .-11 bclong 10 t e d~=l~ sociology ~ac~~~logists and thhe po vo.: . f Soe1al "" pubhS ,usociauon o , al Assoc1a11on. . 1 . menean Anthropolog1c " al A111h1vpo/11g1c~ to thc Joumul of the ;h~o/ogM. Lucilla w1ll
. --" Amennin . ". 1 Assoc1auon 111.~titlll~ and then applied in the field .... It 's sorne- val!o~s made at.all rimes ofthe day (and, perhaps ~ g you can only leam by doing it.' Dr Fustian the mght), and m all the possible locations. 11 is ~~~ingford concurred: ~11 this business ~ftrain- not always possible for a researcher 10 watch the " 1 think is largely spunous. 1t ts somethmg that opposite sex, people of very different ages, or :, 'ieaml by the experience of doing it. lt's rather push mto all the possible se11ings, but it is neces-like ieaching music. Y ou cannot teach people sary .to plan to observe systematically wherever how 10 play without a piano. lt's only by playing poss1ble. In a fishing village the researcher they can learn, and 1 rhink fieldwork is like that.' should not only observe fishing, but also net
All four fictional characters could struggle mending, the sales of the catch, boat repair, with the issues raised by the 'rhetorical tum' and women's everyday lives, the days ofmen too old by postmodemism. In the past fifteen years both to go out to sea any more, and rhe experiences of anthropology and sociology have been through children. Observations should not only encom-some lurmoil about the ways in which data are pass the sea, but also the church, the vegetable analysed and texts written, but the debates are garden, the school and the fish market. Thinking contained within each discipline. through all the possible places to observe, the
In rhe next section the general lessons that ali times to observe, the people to watch, and dis-four would have leamed from their fieldwork are covering whether or not it is possible and pro-distilled inro sorne general precepts. ductive to do so, is a central task of good
fieldwork (Spradley, 1979).
ETHNOGRAPHY FROM STARTTO FINISH
' ;,\hnography is hard work: physically, emotion-y and mentally exhausting. The research does
The beginning, the middle and the end of fieldwork can ali be problematic. Autobio-graphical accounts by anthropologists and sociologists suggest many researchers expen-ence culture shock when conducting their fieldwork this is rare when researchcrs gather th~ir data by post while among