Ethnographic research means examining various cultures and lives of the people in the communities. While studying and working abroad, focusing on the cultural and social perspectives of a different group of people is in the interest of international students.
Ethnographic research enables you to understand the specific needs of individuals. Also, international students can develop insight into different cultures through research. For ethnographic research, students spend time among individuals to gain a better understanding of their cultures.
Individuals can conduct ethnographic research in different types of communities, for example, workplaces, shopping malls, trade fares, and social media. One can perform analysis in their native language. However, the main objective of ethnographic research is to analyze and observe the way people interact with each other and with their surroundings/environment.
An Emic Perspective of Ethnographic Research
As an ethnographer, students attempt to understand native’s perspective of a particular culture. In other words, they seek to study the roots of the culture, including the lifestyles of individuals who live within those traditions.
In this way, ethnographers do not impose theoretical and conceptual frameworks at the beginning of the research process. When you do not rely on the existing theory, it means you would gain new knowledge through your research work.
When you study some culture from deep within, you develop the tendency to understand the real issues. The emic concept is essential to describe any particular situation and behaviour.
Although native perception may not be in accordance with the objective realities, they prove to be helpful for fieldworkers about understanding the particular acts of a social group. When you do not have any prior conceptions, you will be in a position to analyze things objectively.
Sometimes, previous concepts or perceptions do not help individuals to make an analysis that interprets reality. Researchers develop acceptance and recognition of different facts through this approach. Drafting various viewpoints of realities in particular research is significant to understand the mindset of people about different aspects such as religion, politics, and economy.
Diverse perspectives enable researchers to understand specific behavioural patterns of social groups.
Etic Perspective of Ethnographic research
In the Etic perspective, researchers adopt social scientific and outside approach about reality. This concept is in contrast to that of Emic. Researchers with the etic approach take into account materialists and the positive philosophical side of the ethnographic range. Viewing of a particular culture from a theoretical viewpoint is the Etic perspective of Ethnographic research.
Comparison of Emic and Etic Viewpoints
According to most ethnographers, emic and etic approaches are the continuation of different levels of analyses. Some ethnographers start gathering data from the emic viewpoint and then try to integrate that with the etic plan so that it could make sense, says David M. Fetterman.
Research work requires a comprehensive and insightful cultural analysis, and that is why the Emic and Etic approaches work in tandem. Proper ethnographic research requires both perspectives.
When a researcher reaches a community with a predefined set of beliefs or theoretical models, they may not be able to comprehensively understand the reality. Students may start their research out of their interest in a particular community or group of people.
Curiosity leads them to investigate the issues by employing their research. The emic concept provides more opportunities for learning and developing a critical approach. Furthermore, researchers build their theoretical concepts during their research process. On the other hand, using a particular set of beliefs implies that you are researching with someone else’s lens.
Although theoretical ideas are the essential outcomes of a thorough research process, sometimes they may not be entirely advantageous to address a particular situation. However, the etic approach is reliable because the theoretical concept stands on specific research and methodology; by using the emic method, students will be employing their intellect more.
A Broader View of Ethnographic Research
When international students enter the working world after completing their education, they have to research according to their field. Ethnographic research can have global dimensions; ethnographic research includes study about workplace, organizational and industrial ethnographies.
These ethnographic researches provide individuals with an insight into the broader perspective in organizations and management, for example, managerial decisions, corporate culture, contact among professional groups, work-behaviour and relationship between co-workers, cases of sexual harassment and emotional labours.
The study about the working styles of individuals in small, medium or large firms also falls in the category of ethnographic research. The marketing concepts vividly use ethnographic ideas to understand the behaviour of customers.
Information about the target audience is of fundamental importance for doing business. Buying patterns of customers throughout the world closely relate to their cultures. After getting knowhow regarding consumers’ preferences, companies can update and mould their products or services.
Therefore, ethnographic research refers to knowing individuals, managers, workers, consumers, and the overall culture. While researching any particular group of people, students may develop their relationships with communities. In studies, marketing and business, ethnographic research hold importance, and it enlightens individuals about the realities of different aspects.
Before joining any particular college, university, organization and business, ethnographic research will provide students with useful information. Importantly, ethnographic research leads to better decision-making because individuals possess proper knowledge about a specific culture.
Ethnographic research exists in different forms, and it depends upon the researchers on how they employ a particular technique to get relevant information about communities.
Finally, conducting ethnographic research helps students to know about a particular community or group of people. In a broader context, ethnographic research refers to understanding individuals, organizations and different cultural aspects including political, economic and social elements.
Emic and Etic are the two recognized approaches in that regard. Through the emic approach, researchers use their thinking to conduct research, whereas the etic approach deals with using developed theories and frameworks. Students can employ both methods side by side.
They may start with the emic plan and but to validate their research, using the etic approach will be worthwhile. Studying and working abroad refers to dealing with diverse cultures; ethnographic research will equip students with knowledge about individuals, organizations and different communities.