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What method did researchers John Mihelich and John Papineau use to study Parrotheads?

What method did researchers John Mihelich and John Papineau use to study Parrotheads?


a. Survey
b. Experiment
c. Ethnography
d. Case study

The Correct Answer Is:

  • c. Ethnography

Ethnography: The Correct Answer

The correct answer is c. “Ethnography.” Researchers John Mihelich and John Papineau used ethnography to study Parrotheads. Parrotheads are devoted fans of musician Jimmy Buffett, and ethnography is a research method particularly well-suited for studying cultural groups, subcultures, and communities like the Parrothead community.

Ethnography involves immersive, in-depth fieldwork that allows researchers to understand the culture, values, behaviors, and practices of a particular group from an insider’s perspective. Let’s delve into why “ethnography” is the correct answer and why the other options are not as suitable in detail.

Why “Ethnography” is the Correct Answer:

1. Cultural Understanding:

Ethnography is a research method designed for gaining a deep understanding of a culture or subculture. Parrotheads represent a distinct subculture with its own norms, values, and practices. Ethnography allows researchers to immerse themselves in this culture to explore its unique characteristics.

2. Participant Observation:

Ethnography involves participant observation, where researchers actively engage with the group they are studying. In the case of the Parrotheads, Mihelich and Papineau likely participated in Parrothead events, gatherings, and activities to better understand the community from the inside.

3. Qualitative Data:

Ethnography emphasizes the collection of qualitative data, such as interviews, field notes, and observations. This approach is well-suited for capturing the rich cultural context and subjective experiences of the Parrotheads.

4. Contextual Understanding:

To comprehend the Parrothead community fully, it is essential to explore the social and cultural context in which they operate. Ethnography allows for this context to be considered, and researchers can uncover the underlying meaning of Parrothead rituals and behaviors.

5. Holistic View:

Ethnography aims to provide a holistic view of a cultural group or community. Researchers not only study specific behaviors but also investigate the broader cultural context, relationships, and social dynamics within the community.

Why the Other Options Are Not Correct:

a. Survey:

Surveys involve collecting structured data from a large number of participants using questionnaires. While surveys are suitable for gathering data from a broad population, they may not be the best method for studying a specific cultural group like the Parrotheads. Surveys typically provide quantitative data and are less effective at capturing the nuanced cultural aspects, beliefs, and behaviors of a subculture.

b. Experiment:

Experiments are research designs primarily used to test hypotheses and causality. They involve manipulating variables and measuring their effects.

Experiments are typically not employed for understanding and describing the culture and practices of a specific community, as is the aim in the study of Parrotheads. Experiments are more suitable for controlled, hypothesis-driven research.

d. Case Study:

While a case study is a research method used for in-depth exploration of a single case or a small number of cases, it does not provide the immersive participant observation and holistic perspective that ethnography offers.

A case study might be used to explore a particular event, individual, or phenomenon within the Parrohead culture, but it would not capture the broader cultural context and practices of the community as effectively as ethnography does.

In summary, “ethnography” is the correct answer because it aligns with the nature of the study of Parrotheads. Ethnography is uniquely suited to provide a comprehensive, qualitative, and cultural understanding of a specific subculture like the Parrohead community.

The other options—survey, experiment, and case study—represent valuable research methods in their own right but are not as well-matched to the immersive exploration of a cultural group’s practices and values that ethnography offers.

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