Ethnographic fieldwork process

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  • Proposal and budget
  • Data collection in the field (outfield/infield)
    • Fieldnotes (daily)
    • Interviews (recorded or notes)
    • Lessons (recorded or notes)
    • Other audio recordings
    • Other video recordings
    • Other photos (including photos of archival materials)
    • Material culture (artifacts): locally-produced media (CDs, cassettes), books and pamphlets, musical instruments, costumes, photos, archival materials
  • Media editing overview:
    Multimedia editing and other transforms - concept and practice
    • Each multimedia file represents a real-world signal encoding real-world waves (temporal, spatial, or both) within certain boundaries of space (image), time (audio), or both (video).
    • Non-destructive editing: you can always undo - the edits are not performed until a "rendering" phase (applies mainly to video)
    • Editing includes the following operations:
      • extracting AV pieces defined by smaller space-time boundaries ("cropping")
      • emphasizing or deemphasizing frequencies ("filtering") in time (pitch - getting rid of hum, color - correcting balance) or space (anti-pixelating)
      • applying special effects (color to b&w, eliminating "red eye", sharpening lines, etc.)
      • generating "artificial" AV pieces (e.g. text, voiceover) not captured in the field, which you can add
      • assembling smaller pieces into bigger pieces while attending to junctures ("transitions")
        • adjacency: putting pieces end-to-end
        • overlay: putting one piece atop another
    • Other transformations:
      • compressing/decompressing: compressed files are smaller, but harder to edit - and sometimes (lossy compression) lower quality.
      • transcoding: changing the codec, e.g. from mpeg to dv, or tiff to jpeg
    • Some basic operations you should now know how to do:
      • Audio editing: extracting clips, applying fades, normalizing, overdubbing (suggestion: Audacity)
      • Image editing: cropping, adjusting color and contrast, adding graphics and text (suggestion: Gimp)
      • Video editing: preparing clips, separating audio/video components, applying effects and transitions, assembling clips, assembling audio and video clips separately, titling and subtitling... (suggestion: iMovie)
  • Data coding, organization, protection, archiving, and use, in the field and beyond (review; from Week 12)
  • Moving out and preparing your final products: Transforming ethnomusicological fieldwork into communicative ethnographic scholarship
    • text vs multimedia?
    • audience?
    • Often text is considered the only possible mode of scholarly communication, AV serving only to provide illustrative examples. But AV can also become the primary modality...
    • While most research products are text-centric, and theses are still required to be strings of words (with embedded diagrams, maps, charts, data tables, transcriptions and photographic images), documentary film (from raw performance footage to highly interpreted to docudrama) is a powerful technique for reaching a wider audience using the full force of fieldwork's AV materials. See Ethnographic film & music for a brief historical overview and summary of issues.
    • Ethnographic writing.
      Ethnomusicological scholarly writing and publication centers on text, plus a limited number of figures (usually b&w)...occasionally with audio examples. Online scholarship provides more room for AV modalities.
      • Seminar paper
      • Conference paper
      • Thesis
      • Book chapter
      • Journal article
      • Encyclopedia entry (usually includes your own fieldwork, and summarizes others')
      • Monograph
    • Ethnographic multimedia:
      • film/video (documentary film)
      • photography (photo essay)
      • audio (documentary audio)
    • The crucial role of coding in creating your final product:
      • Ethnographic writing: Analysis and synthesis: linking fieldwork materials to your thesis outline via coding.
      • Ethnographic multimedia: linking fieldwork materials to your outline for film, photo essay, or audio recording
      • Qualitative analysis software provides a systematic means of organization