“Street Phenomenology: The Go-Along as Ethnographic Research Tool” by Kusenbach

Kusenbach, M. 2003. “Street Phenomenology: The Go-Along as Ethnographic Research Tool.” Ethnography 4 (3): 455–485. doi:10.1177/146613810343007.

Abstract

This article introduces and evaluates the go-along as a qualitative research tool. What sets this technique apart from traditional ethnographic methods such as participant observation and interviewing is its potential to access some of the transcendent and reflexive aspects of lived experience in situ. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in two urban neighborhoods, I examine five themes which go-alongs are particularly suited to explore: environmental perception, spatial practices, biographies, social architecture and social realms. I argue that by exposing the complex and subtle meanings of place in everyday experience and practices, the go-along method brings greater phenomenological sensibility to ethnography.

In short “go-along” is the practice of accompanying things going on as part of daily routines in order to capture expressions, emotions, and interpretations that informants normally keep to themselves or will not talk about (Gross, 2015)

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