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I need to design an enthography research project  dealing with any cultural variation...

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lcowan6 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:49 PM via web

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I need to design an enthography research project  dealing with any cultural variation here in the US. I understand the process. I just need ideas.  Mine are too broad, and I need suggestions on how to write the hypothesis. 

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM (Answer #1)

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To some degree, what you choose to focus on will be a question of where you live and what cultural variations are available for you to study.  For example, you might live in a community in which there are immigrants whom you could gather information about.  Or, there might be a youth culture in your area that provides an interesting variation.  Another group that is often neglected when thinking about ethnography is the elderly, who often provide interesting cultural variations. 

Now, as far as a hypothesis is concerned, I am unaccustomed to seeing an ethnography assignment that requires a hypothesis.  Ethnography is different from other kinds of research, since its purpose is to investigate a culture or subculture without any preconceived notions.  A hypothesis is, of course, a preconceived notion, which limits your ability to do your research with an open mind.  The richness of the cultural variability of the group you study should be gathered in, and once that is accomplished, certainly, you will be able to come to some conclusions, or at least some tentative conclusions, but to begin with an expectation defeats your purpose. 

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