Mini-ethnography… What’s it all about?


This is my first blog post on assignment two that I am conducting in a pair with Chelsey. To kick off I am going to first of all explain what a mini-ethnography is all about.

In my own words I would describe a mini-ethnography as a smaller scale full ethnography. A mini-ethnography is demonstrated in two parts, (the doing) which is the intense observation or participant observation and, (the writing) which is analysing the findings from your fieldwork and making sense of it. Ethnography as we know is a process of learning from people/organisations about a particular aspect of their lives or how an organisation is ran; including the culture, communication and environment. Then writing up about it in a report in a critical manner.

In mine and Chelsey’s case we chose to do a mini-ethnography on a charity organisation formed by the Trussell Trust. The organisation is a food bank in Fallowfield open to people who are in crisis and in need of food and other services. To start our mini-ethnography we needed to choose an organisation to focus on so that was ticked off the list when the food bank accepted that we could conduct our research (mini-ethnography) with them. We then turned into almost detectives, taking copious amounts of notes and asking the staff question after question. As we were advised to conduct between 4 to 6 hours of observation we decided to dedicate 6 hours of observation across 3 separate visits.

As we have made so many notes we are aiming to narrow down the notes so that we use only the information that is required. We looked back on what we have learnt so far in our organisational communication unit to distinguish our aims and objectives. We also put together an assignment plan and sent this to our lecturers to read over and give us feedback.


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