Skip to main content

Digital Ethnography and the Social Dimension of Introspection: An Empirical Study in Two Colombian Schools

Abstract

We developed a teaching-led research project to empirically ground methodological reflection about digital ethnography. Drawing on Cordelois’ collective ethnographic observation approach, fifteen emerging professionals (from a private general education university and a Police Academy in Bogota) collaborated in a method seminar on digital ethnography. They worked in cross-institutional research teams, each carrying SenseCams for 3 days. Students had a dual role as both participants and observers during self-confrontation interviews. The research design enabled emerging professionals to introspect about what it is to be a member of their institution. The SenseCam provided an additional opportunity for observation as it elicited different reactions in the two institutions. The fact that SenseCams produce sequential accounts of activity as well as its situated nature made apparent the autonomy to study and solve daily issues (e.g. transport, security, commitments) by students from the university, while students in the police academy are more focused on responding to unforeseen activities (e.g. police services, unexpected requests). Finally, our research highlights the relevance of the social dimension of introspection for digital ethnography. How digital data that captures an individual perspective is negotiated in a group becomes a key methodological question.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Notes

  1. 1.

    The development of intelligent image management systems (Lee et al. 2008) has aided many researchers in utilizing the data generated by Sensecams, however this system was not utilized in this research endeavour.

References

  1. Afitska, O. (2009). Transana 2.30. Wisconsin Center for Education Research Language, Documentation & Conservation, 3(2), 226–235.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bear, D., (2013) Adapting, acting out, or standing firm: understanding the place of drugs in the policing of a London borough. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

  3. Blau, P. M. (1955). The dynamics of bureaucracy: A study of Interpersonal relations in two government agencies: Chicago, U. P.

  4. Blau, P. M. (1974). On the nature of organizations. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Boring, E. G. (1953). A History of Introspection. Psychological Bulletin, 50(3).

  6. Clot, Y., Faita, D., Fernandez, G., & Schneller, L. (2001). Enreriens en auto-confrontation croisee: une methode en clinique de l’activite. Education Permanente, 146(1), 17–25.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Cordelois, A. (2010). Using digital technology for collective ethnographic observation: an experiment on ‘coming home’. Social Science Information Sur Les Sciences Sociales, 49(3), 445–463.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Doherty, A. R., Hodges, S. E., King, A. C., Smeaton, A. F., Berry, E., Moulin, C. J. A., Lindley, S., Kelly, P., & Foster, C. (2013). Wearable cameras in health: the state of the art and future possibilities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(3), 320–323.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Flick, U. (1998). An Introduction to qualitative research. London: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Garfinkel, H. (1991). Studies in ethnomethodology. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Goodwin, C. (1994). Professional Vision. American Anthropologist, 96(3), 27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Graziano, W. G., & Tobin, R. M. (2002). Agreeableness: dimension of personality or social desirability artifact? Journal of Personality, 70(5), 695–728.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Grice, H. P. (1979). Logic and conversation. Communications, 30, 57–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1983). Ethnography: Principles in practice. London: Tavistock.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Hodges, S., Williams, L., Berry, E., Izadi, S., Srinivasan, J. & Butler, A. (2006) SenseCam: A retrospective memory aid. In Proceedings of the 8th international Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (Orange County, CA, USA, September 17–21, 2006) (pp. 117–193). Lecture Notes In Computer Science, vol. 4206. Springer-Verlag, London.

  17. Howe, R. B. K. (1991). Introspection: a reassessment. New Ideas in Psychology, 9(1), 25–44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hutchins, E. L. (1995). How a cockpit remembers its speed. Cognitive Science, 19, 265–288.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. James, W. (1890). Principles of psychology. New York: Holt.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  20. Janis, I. L. (1971). Groupthink. Psychology Today, 5(6), 43–46.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Kelly, P., Marshall, S. J., Badland, H., Kerr, J., Oliver, M., Doherty, A. R., & Foster, C. (2013). An ethical framework for automated, wearable cameras in health behavior research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(3), 314–319.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Kerr, J., Marshall, S. J., Godbole, S., Chen, J., Legge, A., Doherty, A. R., Kelly, P., Oliver, M., Badland, H. M., & Foster, C. (2013). Using the SenseCam to improve classifications of sedentary behavoir in free-living settings. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(3), 290–296.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Knoblauch, H., Schnettler, B., Raab, J., & Soeffner, H.-G. (2006). Video analysis: Methodology and methods: Qualitative audiovisual data analysis in sociology. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Krueger, R., & Casey, M. A. (2009). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research. Los Angeles: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Lahlou, S. (1999). Observing cognitive work in offices. In N. Streitz, J. Siegel, V. Hartkopf, & S. Konomi (Eds.), Cooperative buildings. Integrating information, organizations and architecture (pp. 150–163). Heidelberg: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  26. Lahlou, S. (2006). L’activité du point de vue de l’acteur et la question de l’inter-subjectivité: huit années d’expériences avec des caméras miniaturisées fixées au front des acteurs (Subcam). Communications, 80, 209–234.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Lahlou, S. (2010). Digitization and transmission of human experience. Social Science Information Sur Les Sciences Sociales, 49(2), 36.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Lahlou, S. (2011). How can we capture the subject’s perspective? An evidence-based approach for the social scientist. Social Science Information, 50(3–4), 607–655.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Le Bellu S (n.d.) Learning the secrets of the craft through the real-time experience of experts: a novel method for capturing and transferring professional expert tacit knowledge to novices. PLoS One. (under submission).

  31. Lee, H., Smeaton, A. F., O’Conner, N. E., Jones, G., Blighe, M., Byrne, D., Doherty, A., & Gurrin, C. (2008). Constructing a SenseCam visual diary as a media process. Multimedia Systems, 14(6), 341–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Lim, S. (2002). The self-confrontation interview: towards an enhanced understanding of human factors in web-based interaction for improved website usability. Journal of electronic commerce research, 3(3), 162–173. Retrieved 24 November, 2014, from http://www.csulb.edu/journals/jecr/issues/20023/paper5.pdf.

  33. Lyman, S. M., & Scott, M. B. (1989). A sociology of the absurd: General Hall.

  34. Nisbett, R. E., & Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84(3), 231–259.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Ochs, E., & Solomon, O. (2010). Autistic sociality. Ethos, 38(1), 69–92.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Omodei, M., & McLennan, J. (1994). Studying complex decision making in natural settings: using a head-mounted video camera to study competitive orienteering. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 79, 1411–1425.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Omodei, M., McLennan, J., & Wearing, A. J. (2002). Head-mounted video and cued recall: a minimally reactive methodology for understanding, detecting and preventing error in the control of complex systems. Paper presented at the 21st European Annual Conference of Human Decision Making and Control. Department of Computer Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland.

  38. Omodei, M., McLennan, J., & Wearing, A. J. (2005). How expertise is applied in real-world dynamic environments: Head-mounted video and cued recall as a methodology for studying routines of decision making. In T. Betsch & S. Haberstroh (Eds.), The routines of decision making (pp. 271–288). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Pink, S. (2013). Doing visual ethnography. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Rieken, Johannes (2013) Making situated police practice visible: a study examining professional activity for the maintenance of social control with video data from the field. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London, United Kingdom.

  41. Sacks, H., Scheglof, E. A., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50(4), 696–735.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Schegloff, E. A. (1968). Sequencing in conversational openings. American Anthropologist, 70(6), 1075–1095. doi:10.2307/669510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Smith, E. R., & Miller, F. D. (1978). Limits on perception of cognitive processes: a replay to Nisbett and Wilson. Psychological Review, 85(4), 355–362.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Suchman, L. A. (1987). Plans and situated actions: The problem of human-machine communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Theureau, J. (1992). Le cours d’action: analyse sémiologique. [The course-of-action: Semiological analysis]. In P. Lang (Ed.), Essai d’anthropologie cognitive située [Essay on situated cognitive anthropology]. Berne.

  46. Theureau, J. (2003). Course-of-action analysis and course-of-action-centered design. In E. Hollnagel (Ed.), Handbook of cognitive task design (pp. 55–81). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  47. Tsoukas, H., & Vladimirou, E. (2001). What is organizational knowledge? Journal of Management Studies, 38(7), 973–993.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Vermersch, P. (1994). L’entretien d’explicitation en formation initiale et en formation continue. Paris: ESF.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Von Cranach, M., & Kalbermatten, U. (1982). The ordinary interactive action: Theory, methods and some empirical findings. In M. Von Cranach & R. Harre (Eds.), The analysis of action (pp. 115–160). London: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations (Vol. 3). London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Wickström, G., & Bendix, T. (2000). The “Hawthorne effect”—what did the original Hawthorne studies actually show?. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 363–367.

  52. Woods, D. K., & Dempster, P. G. (2011). Tales from the bleeding edge: the qualitative analysis of complex video data using transana, Vol. 12, No. 1 Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1516/3120.

Download references

Acknowledgments

To Economics and Social Research Council funded project “Strategic governance of Science and Technology Pathways to Security” which funded Dr. Rieken research for this paper. The authors acknowledge the support given by the Escuela de Cadetes de Policía General Francisco de Paula Santander and Universidad de los Andes, for facilitate the access to their learning environments and the whole institutional framework to develop the research.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Efraín Garcia-Sanchez.

Additional information

The author was supported by the Economics and Social Research Council funded project ‘Strategic governance of Science and Technology Pathways to Security’ when conducting the research for this paper.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rieken, J., Garcia-Sanchez, E., Trujillo, M.P. et al. Digital Ethnography and the Social Dimension of Introspection: An Empirical Study in Two Colombian Schools. Integr. psych. behav. 49, 253–274 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-015-9299-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Introspection
  • Self-confrontation
  • Digital ethnography
  • SenseCam
  • Professionalisation