Friday, November 14, 2008

playing anthropologist...

well we're actually busy at work, but it felt like a game! my great friend and favorite classmate MHJ and I have spent the semester of our anthropology research method course working on a project on "green consumerism". we conducted 12 semi-structured interviews on green consumerism and how people construct "green identities". the interviews were extremely interesting and insightful and now we're busy drawing out themes and trying to make meaning of it all. one method for drawing out themes is to pull out interesting quotes from the interviews, cut them all up on paper and then pile sort them into categories and themes.

so that's what we just finished in this pic. we started with 117 quotes, all numbered, and read them aloud to each other and figured out how they went together. we used orange sticky notes to mark different categories/themes. once we'd sorted everything, we typed it all up:

SELF IDENTITY: 7,112,114,4,45,107,117,103,72,78,67,40,83 (others perceptions of you: 64,65,43,44,49,33,20)
- communication of green identity
- education and leading by example: 82,81,100,6,41,106,79,31,17,97,16,109,58
- communication of identity through comparison with others (positive or negative): 30,97,113,91,22,32,55
- lifestyle: 89,11,80,26,28,27,62,99,14,37,92,110,93,71,29,56,74
- motivating factors
- personal experience of nature: 51,53,59
- guilt: 36,118,116,84,96,94,85
- interconnectedness of green and other social issues, social responsibility: 2,12,42, 34,35,38,24,104,111,54,57,108,101,23
- personal responsibility: 5,60,76
- hope: 50
- health: 15
- feel good about green: 25,48,69
- knowledge and research: 68,21,102,18,70
- limiting factors: 88
- money: 75,115,77
- suspicion: 66
- convenience: 63,87,39
- not personal responsibility: 90
- problem of consumerism: 1,3,13,10,19,8,9
- hypocrisy: 95,47,73,86

then we drew flow charts and webs of how themes and ideas related.
pretty cool technique! who knew a research methods course could be so fun? (okay, maybe fun is a bit of a stretch, but it certainly isn't as boring as i had expected).

i'll post an abstract of our paper when we're finished.


Beth said...

It sounds SO inteersting! I am excited to hear the results.

And I wonder if the French have similar views on the issue.....

MAWG said...

This technique is often used in business strategic planning and continuous improvement processes. It can be very powerful, but it takes a lot of work.

Is 'Green Consumerism' an oxymoron?