Nursing homework help. The Ethnography Portfolio Project

Ethnography Portfolio Project Due Points Percentage of total grade
Proposal       50     5% (Pass/Redo/Fail)
Fieldnotes I, including jottings, recording, release form &  transcript     100   10%
Fieldnotes II, including jottings, recording, release form &  transcript     100   10%
Group Presentation       50     5%
Final Ethnography     200   20%

Total Portfolio







In this semester-long project, you will record two instances of groups of real people in real communication.  You will analyze each interaction separately, reporting your observations and conclusions in fieldnotes.  At the end of the semester, you will write a formal ethnography that analyzes both of them together to comment on contemporary communication and culture.  You will use sources from the textbook throughout the semester to aid your discussion.


Good situations to record can range from your friends hanging out in the evening, a Bible study, or meetings of various clubs and organizations on campus.  The preference in this course is to work on campus, but other situations may be acceptable if cleared by your instructor.  All people in the situation must be told that they are being recorded for a class project, and all must sign a waiver that they agree to be recorded.  Do not record children (even your own) or other vulnerable people.


Although you do not have to know everybody you are recording, you should usually be familiar with the situation and understand what kind of behavior usually happens.  Follow your instinct about what is interesting: Why is the group of friends you have from the dorm so funny? How does the head of your intramural soccer team get everybody to shut up and practice?  How do your friends get ready for parties?  Pick two different times to record this group of people, or choose a different group to record in the same setting.  For example, how does a group of sorority women interact when they are in a house meeting or when they are going out to eat?  Or, how does a sorority house conduct its meetings compared with a fraternity house? Think about how values, identity, and power play out in these interactions.  Think about what social business (ends) are involved in the conversations you are recording.  What genres (e.g., story-telling, gossiping, joking, or razzing), power moves, changes in footing, and so on are being employed in the communication?


The conversations you record should be naturally occurring (although it is fine to invite friends over with a warning that they will be taped), have four to six people, and be held in a quiet enough place so the tape recorder can pick up all the information.




The Proposal

In 1-2 pages, describe two situations that you want to audio record, who you expect will be in them, why you think they are interesting, and what you think you will find similar or different about them. 


You do not need to do any fieldwork for your proposal. Instead, think about groups and settings you know already, and decide on one that presents interesting questions or that might connect to the subjects we are talking about in A122.  Your proposal will be graded pass, redo, or fail.


Fieldnotes I

Audio record an interaction among 4-6 people, make jottings using the SPEAKING model during the recording, get signatures of all participants on a release form, transcribe approximately 3 minutes of the recording using transcription conventions (p. 156), and write 2-3 pages of fieldnotes. 


You have already done one set of fieldnotes for your greetings assignment. Just as with the greetings assignment, you should make jottings and careful observations about what goes on.  This time, however, you will know the people involved and have data (a recording) you can review.  You will also need to have your informants sign a release form.


The interaction you tape should be about 30 to 60 minutes long.  After the interaction, you will focus on just 3 or 4 minutes where the conversation is lively and where issues of power, identity, gender, social business, or other interesting features of the interaction come through.


Transcribe those 3 or 4 minutes word for word, also marking the transcriptions with the conventions listed on page 49 of your textbook to capture other features of the interaction.  Make sure to give yourself a lot of time for the transcription.  A good transcription usually requires you to listen to the tape many times.  One thing to focus on when transcribing is what you’ve decided is interesting–how people compete for attention, how people ask questions, how people laugh at the same time.  There are many transcription symbols to help you capture these phenomena, but if you find a pattern that we haven’t talked about, make up a new symbol or way of transcribing it (just make sure to add a footnote that explains your new notation).


Your fieldnotes should provide a thick description of the interaction similar to the one you wrote for the greetings assignment. Remember to focus on why things are happened as well as what is happening. It is fine to spend the first part of the paper describing the recording; then, the second part of your fieldnotes should explore analysis (the why). What are the patterns you decided to focus on in your transcription (interruption, joking, insults, swearing, conversational signals. Etc.)? What do you think those patterns suggest about culture and communication (identity, power, gender, etc.)? Refer to at least one article we have read in the textbook and use direct quotations from your transcript.


Fieldnotes II

Audio record an interaction among 4-6 people, make jottings using the SPEAKING model during the recording, get signatures of all participants on a release form, transcribe approximately 3 minutes of the recording using transcription conventions (p. 156), and write 2-3 pages of fieldnotes. 


By this time, you will have good experience with fieldnotes, including transcribing and connecting them to larger issues.  For Fieldnotes 2, you will also have a much broader range of readings to choose from and more knowledge about how social groups work to help you understand the behaviors you have observed.


Follow the same procedures for Fieldnotes 1, including signatures, jottings, recordings, transcriptions and fieldnotes.  This time, be sure to use at least two articles from the book as you discuss your findings.  Questions you should ask yourself here are “how typical or atypical is what I am seeing?” and “How do these behaviors strengthen or weaken social groups?”  “What patterns do I see?” Use direct quotes from your transcript to support your ideas.


At the end of your paper, include a paragraph that addresses patterns you see across the first and second sets of fieldnotes.   What are the major similarities and differences?  What patterns repeat or are disrupted?  Can you briefly speculate what your observations tell us about how communication and culture work?


Ethnography Group Presentation

In a 10-minute group presentation, make interesting connections, comparisons, and contrasts among the projects in your group.  All members of the group should speak.


The group presentation is an opportunity to compare your data and findings with other those of other people who are looking at similar topics.  How general or specific are the behaviors you have found?  For example, do many women in the other projects use the same kind of language you observed in yours?  Is this kind of language specific to IU, to Indiana, or to the US? What is your evidence for how widespread this phenomenon is? What other phenomena are connected with this main one?  Does this phenomenon help you to talk about identity, power, social business, or other concepts we have talked about during the semester? This presentation will be judged not individually but as a group, so make sure everyone participates and shares information.



In a 5-7 page paper, analyze how the data you collected this semester helps us to understand some of the larger theoretical issues of interpersonal communication.


In this paper, you should provide an introduction that briefly restates the two field situations you previously analyzed and raises the interesting questions that emerged from that data.


In the body of the paper, you should include your theoretical framework, that is, the course readings that you find most help you to interpret your data.  Summarize the basic argument of the key theoretical concepts you will use.  Cite at least three readings.  In your interpretation of data, you will need to analyze your transcripts in relation to the course readings you have selected.  Does your data support or complicate the theoretical arguments found in the readings?   How?  Be sure to present enough of your own data (your evidence) so that a reader will be able to assess your argument. You can do this by using direct quotations from your transcript as evidence.  Also, discuss similarities and differences in your data across the different conversations that you recorded.  Don’t force your evidence to fit all of the facets of a theory in the book.  Remember that some of the most interesting work happens when we push beyond previous theories to discover new things.


In your conclusion, note what the theories you cite explain best about your data and what they do not explain about it.  How do you account for any lack of fit between the theory and your data?  Explain how you might revise or qualify the theory in relation to your data.


You don’t need to do any new research for this paper, just present evidence from the other projects to support your claims.  You must submit Fieldnotes I and Fieldnotes II with your final ethnography.




Criteria for Top Ethnographies


  • Goes beyond description of recordings by providing a clear thesis and introduction
  • Demonstrates attention to greater social and cultural significance of patterns found in the recordings (e.g., What does this mean for culture, power, gender, or identity?)
  • Does more than reinforce stereotypes or categories, either explaining them insightfully or challenging them.
  • Synthesizes both sets of fieldnotes and theories thoughtfully


  • Uses appropriate excerpts from the transcripts to provide evidence for the argument
  • Uses evidence from transcripts that is specific and selected for its relevance


  • Carefully uses at least three articles/theories from book that demonstrate an understanding of the theory
  • Use of theory demonstrates an understanding of social business

Structure and style

  • Introduction, including context and thesis
  • Conclusion, including summary
  • Writing Style – paper flows and presents a coherent argument
  • Grammar – no major or consistent errors






Nursing homework help