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Ethnography and participant obsevation

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Ethnography and Participant Observation Introduction This paper is a report on a participant observation exercise conducted at Spectrum (Nordstrom) Shopping Center to gain an understanding of groups of people undertake their life routines and culture in such a setting (Dewalt & Dewalt , 2002). Observation and Comments The shopping center does not have an automatic door and the focus of the observation was people entering the store. The breakdown of the people entering the store was men around 60 or above 8, women around 60 or above 15, friends (girls 6), friends (boys 3), friends (boys and girls 3), men between the age of 20 and 40 years 8, women between the age of 20 and 40 years 17, young couples 4, old couples 3, mother with baby 15, father and daughter 1, pregnant woman 1 and family 6. A greater proportion of people coming to the store are the female gender indicating that shopping as a chore is more prone to be undertaken by women, and as a family group activity does not happen as an individual activity. Since the door of the store was not an automatic door, the expectation was that assistance would be provided to women with toddlers and the elderly, to gain access to the store by others ahead of them entering the store, by holding the door open for them. However, this was not the case, as the door was held open only once for other people and twice for women with toddlers. Less awareness of the difficulties of others and less concern for that appears to be the culture of people who entered the store during the period of observation. Lengthening the period of observation could have led to the unobtrusive exercise, losing that quality, as people entering the store could have become aware of the observation, and changed their patter of behavior. Literary References Dewalt, K. M. & Dewalt, B. R. (2002). Participant Observation. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.

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