Tag Archives: Skills

How to Observe – Guidelines for an Open Mind

at the fish market

When we encounter unfamiliar situations or find ourselves in cultures which we do not understand, it is best to gather the facts before jumping to conclusions about what is going on.  Some ethnographers use Kohl’s three-stage process of Describe, Interpret, and Evaluate (DIE) as a rule of thumb to ensure the quality of information when engaging in cultural description.  These are crucially ordered activities; straying from the sequencing will eliminate the value of your observation by producing uninformed and biased data.  It is a little morbid, but if you remember that in order to learn about a new culture you have to DIE first, then you will approach the learning situation with an open mind and leave with new cultural understanding. Continue reading

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