Ethnographer’s Analytical Essay

Ethnographer’s Analytical Essay (Field Trip Report)

 Individual assessment  Essay  Length: Essay (1500 words) + Appendices (inc. Field Journal (no minimum word limit; up to 2000 words))

Task: Now you have read about travel so it is time to do some of your own. In this assignment, you are to write an essay based on your travel experience as a tourist as well as an ethnographer. The assignment allows you to demonstrate your ability to apply and use the research and theorising of others to understand a situation that includes your own travel experience. There are three broad parts to this assignment task:

1. Field Trip: You are required to be a tourist as well as an ethnographer and do some travelling of your own. There must be an overnight component, and you must travel ideally at least 40 km from your present residence. 2. Field Reflective Journal: You are to keep and submit a field journal before, during and after your field trip. 3. Ethnographer’s Analytical Essay: You are to write an analytical essay on your own travel experience using relevant research and theoretical material. See Appendix E (A2 Ethnographer’s Analytical Essay Feedback Sheet) for the assessment criteria for the Essay.

1. Field Trip

To complete this assignment, you will be both a tourist and an ethnographer and collect ‘primary’ research data before, during and after a personal travel experience. You will need to systematically study this primary data that will be in the form of a record of personal travel experience – not necessarily a long trip, but a travel experience nonetheless. You are required to undertake this travel specifically for the assignment to keep the travel journal which then contains the primary data (explained in the next section).

What makes you a tourist?

You all know that most tourism definitions accept an overnight component and about 40km from home as qualifying for the label ‘tourist’. Keeping in mind this definition, select a trip or tour of some sort, or design and take yourself off on one of your own makings. Or, you might travel ‘home’ to visit your family or old friends (VFR travel). You can travel alone or with friends, other students or family members. Doing it with other students in this unit can be very interesting.

The ‘passport’ definitions of tourism (overnight, across borders, 40 km, etc.) are unsatisfactory for thinking about what people do and why they do it. This is one place where the separation of leisure from tourism is problematic because most of the travel we are studying is leisure travel. While it is debatable whether your trip for this assignment is ‘work’, i.e. for an assignment, it will have leisure components.

Maybe the first thing you should do is go to a travel office and look at the brochures, find something relevant on the Internet or talk to family and friends for ideas. Think about where you’d like to go and about the constraints you face in deciding where to go. Start recording in your Travel Journal as you do this. An early workshop requires that you have some information relevant to your field trip and that you can use them in class.

This is also an intellectual exercise because you have to conceptualise, research and analyse the tourism issues extant at your destination and the route you take travelling there and back. Like all tourist sites, there are social, cultural, environmental and economic issues to be dealt with.

Before the trip

 Travel planning: What site or destination can you visit for this assignment? When and how long can you stay there? How can you get there? What activities are available? Are you travelling alone or with someone? How much is it going to cost? Can you afford it? Do you need a visa?  Learning: How your ideas about travel and tourism have been evolving? Any key theories and conceptual frameworks that might be useful for your fieldwork?  Research topic and question: What are potential topics/research questions do you want to explore through your travel experience? What it is that you are asking of your research? What it is you are trying to answer in doing this research?  Data collection methods: What data and information do you need to collect? How and where will you be collecting your primary data? What equipment do you need?  Anticipation: What are your expectations? How are they evolving as the travel date approaches

During the trip

This section should include a record of your travel experience; from the time when you leave your home until when you safely return to your home. This is the main part of your travel journal, so it is expected that you make more frequent entries during the trip.

 Experiences and reflections: what did you do, see, smell, touch, hear, feel etc.? You may use the template provided in Appendix B.  Visual elements: Photos, maps, and images etc.  Ethnographic data: what data did you collect. Did you manage to collect adequate and appropriate data you initially anticipated? If not, what went wrong and how can you adjust it?

After the trip

This is important that you spend some time reflecting upon and summarising your field trip experience in retrospect.

 Reflections: think about how your views on the destination you visited changed and/or evolved.  Summary: create a summary of your observations during the field trip.  Research question: Revisit your research question and see if you now answer the research question? What evidence do you have to support your response?  Essay structure: Brainstorm the structure of your essay. What are the headings? What information to be included and excluded.

While writing in the journal, you should begin to develop a feel for your research questions, what it is that you are asking of your research, what it is you are trying to answer in doing this research.

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