CREATED ON 12th June 2016
COMPLETED ON 13th June 2016
Expert hired: TheGreat

Restaurant Ethnography: Participation Observation Assignment

MUST BE MIN. 350 WORDS Restaurant Ethnography: Participation Observation Assignment The purpose of this assignment is to gain experience in one of cultural anthropology’s primary research methods: participation observation. This assignment revolves around one simple theme: observing the interaction of customers and wait staff at a restaurant, recording the results, and reflecting on your findings. The central aim of participant observation is to learn something about human behavior in a designated locale. Because the ability to observe details is usually sharper in an environment that is not entirely familiar, it is important that your fieldwork be conducted at a restaurant that you do not often frequent and where you would not expect to meet people with whom you are familiar. Equipment: a pencil/pen and notebook to record your observations. Assignment: Identify Your Fieldsite: Identify a restaurant/café that is convenient for this assignment. Choose the time of day and location carefully. You will have difficulty completing your assignment in an empty restaurant. You are advised to complete this assignment alone. If you bring a companion with you, the person should be advised to bring a book or newspaper to read during the time that you are completing your ethnographic work. Your companion should be advised to ignore your assignment and act naturally. Participant Observation: In order to identify patterns you will need to spend at least 15 minutes in a restaurant/café that has wait staff. You may choose a location where orders are made at the counter and food is delivered to the table, but if you are at a self-service restaurant you must situate yourself somewhere where you can spend time directly observing employee/customer interactions. Your assignment is to observe these interactions and to look for patterns in behavior. Do not speak about your assignment unless directly asked. Your aim is to remain unnoticeable so that you can observe peoples’ natural behavior in this setting. Data Collection: Recording fieldnotes and reflections is an important component of this exercise, as in all field research. One classical technique anthropologists use when taking fieldnotes is to draw a line down the middle of one’s notebook page, and to place the heading, “Observations,” in the left-hand column and “Reflections” in the right-hand column. In the Observations column you can record everything you observe and notice. What are people wearing? Where are customers being seated? How tired to the wait staff look? Is the staff annoyed? Do you see any conflict or alliances with the staff? How old are the employees and the clientele? And any other information you can observe. In the Reflections column you may record your thoughts, feelings and interpretations of these observations. When you have left the restaurant you may wish to return, and add additional thoughts to this column in preparation for your write-up. Write-Up and Conclusion: After completing your observations it is time to write up your description and analysis. Anthropologists refer to this write-up as their “fieldnotes.” Fieldnotes must be TYPED and DOUBLE-SPACED, submitted through Canvas by copy/paste text or uploading a PDF file and should fill at least two full pages. You will find this easy to accomplish and may even wish to write additional pages. A good write-up will include an introductory section that describes your location, a middle section that summarizes your observations, and a concluding section that interprets your observations and reflects upon your findings. What surprised you about the behavior you witnessed? Did you observe any patterns of discrimination or favoritism? How did you feel while conducting fieldwork?
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12 June 2016
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