Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Professor Debbie Klein Spring

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Professor Debbie Klein
Spring 2006
Fieldwork Paper: Description and Brief Analysis
Details: This paper is due at the beginning of class on Monday March 27. It is
based on your first round of fieldwork, which you need to complete by Monday, March
20. It is 3-4 pages, typed and double spaced, with 10 to 12 point font and 1 inch margins.
Give your paper a title but not a separate title page (i.e. no cover page necessary). Please
put your name, date, and title on the top of the first page and number all of your pages.
Goal: This paper gives you a chance to begin the process of formally writing up your
fieldwork experience, using ethnographic writing techniques of thick description and
Use the following guidelines to help you organize your paper:
1. Discuss your subject position in relation to your event and/or interview. How does
your personal and/or professional situation and background affect your relationship to
this event and/or people? You might want to reflect on certain aspects of yourself
that make a difference to you or the people with whom you interacted, such as: your
gender, class, race, religion, nationality, sexuality, age, etc. (1-2 introductory
2. Describe the event and/or interview. Use the ethnography you have read as a model.
Think about Chavez’s vivid and detailed descriptions of the history, voices, and
experiences of the people in their communities. Describe the sights, sounds, smells,
tastes, and feel of your experience. What details seem important to the participants in
the event? If you conducted an interview, describe the content of your dialogue.
What kinds of stories did your interviewee tell? Creatively paint a rich portrait of the
event for an audience who was not there. Weave the details into a coherent story of
the event. (most of the paper)
3. Begin to analyze your data. What symbols and/or terms seem important? What is the
meaning of the event you observed or the words offered by your interviewee? Can
you guess at an answer to your original research question? Have you come up with a
new research question? (concluding paragraph)