GC2Y (Myth, Magic, & the Modern World) -- Fieldwork (final) Project -- Magoulick
SKIP TO SAMPLE CONSENT FORM
CHOOSING A TOPIC
There are many possible topics for this project. BE ORIGINAL! Your end goal should be to present to the class the most interesting and enjoyable version of folklore that you can find. There should be clearly identifiable artistic expression (lore) and it should be clear how this lore is part of a folk group.
The main things to consider in choosing your topic are that it’s a kind of folklore that you find interesting, and that you know or have access to someone who is very talented in performing this kind of folklore. Perhaps you know someone who has always told great stories or jokes, or someone who is a talented songwriter/singer, or someone who practices some kind of material culture and produces what you find to be artistically virtuosic. Perhaps you can think of interesting rituals, gestures, superstitions, or holiday traditions that you find to be highly symbolic, meaningful, or beautiful.
Whatever branch and genre you focus on, be sure to also have a clear concept of the folk group, and at least one member of that folk group whom you can interview (on tape), who will have something very interesting to say about the topic. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO SUCCEED IS TO CHOOSE A GOOD SPEAKER TO INTERVIEW. A lackluster interview produces a boring project.
EXAMPLES OF PAST SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS
* Interviews with local experts on things like haunted houses, local legends, etc.
* Interviews with local experts on material culture like bee keeping, herbs, health food, wine making, quilt-making, ceramics, etc. (though be sure it's a folk example of the art).
* Interviews w/ family members who tell very interesting stories about their lives -- possibly significant events they participated in (like wars), or funny stories of childhood adventures, or how your grandparents met each other, etc.
* Interviews with family members who have personal experience narratives about significant events in their lives -- like unusual encounters, near-death experiences, lucky experiences, etc. (see PBS site on story corps)
* Interviews w/ college friends or professors about especially interesting pranks, hobbies (that are artful), travel experiences, foodways, etc. (but remember the focus is to get good stories)
Narrow down your topic as much as possible. Do not try to collect “all the folklore” of a particular folk group. If you know a good talker, try to get that person to tell stories of a particular genre, or surrounding a particular topic. Even if you focus on a non-narrative genre, you should plan to do an interview (for 45 minutes with one person) in which they talk meaningfully and well on the topic (why and how they make quilts or lead summer camp song sessions, or how they carry out practical jokes, etc.). For instance, if you focus on holiday traditions, pick one holiday and one group and be sure it’s a good one.
PLANNING THE INTERVIEW
Make sure that you will actually be able to collect, observe, and document this folklore that interests you in the time frame we have. Remember that you must interview one person for at least 45 minutes. This does not mean interviewing 4 people for 10 minutes each. A good folklore interview takes at least 30 minutes to get going. If after 15 or 20 minutes into your interview you or your consultant thinks, “We’re done!” – that means you have not chosen a good person to interview or you have not conducted your interview well. Find a person who loves to talk and who can talk very well and at length about the topic.
Consider how many people you will need to interview make your project convincing and effective. You can interview more than one person – but at least one of the interviews must be a full length, 45 minutes minimum interview with the main person. If you think additional interviews will help, you may do them, but it’s not necessary. Usually one good person in one good interview is enough.
Plan in advance to have technology available to record an interview when you need to do so.
Consider whether you can record this as a participant observer (in its natural context) or whether you will arrange a separate “performance” or situation in which to conduct the interview.
Be sure to have a quiet place and enough time to conduct the full interview in one sitting. Be sure your consultant realizes that you will be recording the interview and knows how long it will last.
Talk to people you plan to interview ASAP about dates and times you will BOTH be available. You should be flexible and adjust your schedule to fit your consultant, and not the other way around.
Remember to create participant release (consent) forms for all those you will interview. The form you need to use is on the last page of this handout and on my website. Please use the exact language indicated, only substituting your specifics – name, title of your project, phone number, etc. Get signatures when you conduct the interview(s).
Plan carefully and leave time for all parts of the project – AT LEAST a few weeks to complete everything.
Reserve your equipment (recorders) ASAP if you plan to borrow them. The library has camcorders available, but you must reserve them in advance and may have to go through training to use them.
When approaching people to interview, be very honest and clear about what you will be doing.
Introduce yourself, explain your project and ask for permission first before interviewing (or collecting/documenting). For instance, if you are interviewing about a place and will include footage of that place, get permission to do so and be very clear about what you are doing and why.
Explain that you are working on a collection project for class and that you chose this person to interview or place to study because of your genuine esteem for that person’s expertise on the topic.
Be clear from the outset that will need to tape record the interview (whether you use video or audio tape is your choice – but make it clear to the person).
Audio tape can be less intimidating & with photos can be interesting and dynamic.
Video tape can make it easier to explain and demonstrate some of the context.
Be sure you are in control of your equipment: practice, test your batteries, have plenty of tape, film, etc.
Think of the person you are interviewing as a CONSULTANT rather than an informant (it gives more credit to the interviewee), who is after all, key to the project’s success.
Explain your project and plans completely to your consultant. Get all the necessary documents filled out and signed. Remember that EACH person interviewed must sign a standard consent form. Explain, as well, what folklore is, & how this isn’t be a survey, but a chance to really perform and explain at length.
Ask your consultant to be totally honest, to say what he/she really thinks and not what he/she thinks that you want to hear. Try to get the consultant to relax and enjoy the interview (you must also relax).
Try to let the interview “flow” as naturally as possible. Get your consultant to open up, relax, and perform in that way that you presumably know they can (which is why you chose that person to interview).
Do NOT judge what your consultant says during the interview (don=t contradict or laugh at the person).
LISTEN CAREFULLY during the interview. Be polite and show interest in his/her opinions/ideas.
Everyone likes to be listened to (if the listener is sincerely listening). Your listening should prompt the speaker to relax and want to open up more and tell his/her story more fluently and enjoyably.
Stay quiet as much as possibly. You will think you talk too much when you listen to the tape later.
You may have a list of questions to start with, but try to let the conversation flow more naturally. A list of questions should be just a back-up, not the main thing you rely upon. This is not a survey or a study to which you want quick answers. The main goal is for your consultant to relax and start to tell really good stories or to speak freely and with enthusiasm and joy about the topic (or genre).
Rather than questions, try to have “prompts.” For instance, rather than asking, “Do you know any stories?” try eliciting a specific story you have heard this person tell before, “Could you tell me that story you told the other night about your first kiss?” or “Remember that time you almost drowned as a little boy? What exactly happened?” Or if your focus is material culture or a holiday, you could prompt with, “Remember that face jug you made that you sold for $300, tell me about how you made that?” Or, “Tell me about how you learned about that ritual and why you keep practicing it.”
If the consultant has already anticipated and answered a question, do not ask that question again.
If the consultant brings up an aspect of the topic you had not anticipated, be prepared to pursue that line of inquiry (by thinking up new directions and possibly new questions as you do the interview).
You should plan for each interview to last 45 minutes to an hour. But don’t be surprised if it takes longer. Be flexible and allow plenty of time. Often the interview doesn’t really get interesting until the consultant relaxes, which may take 20-30 minutes. Don’t cut it off just as it’s getting good.
Remember to thank the person afterward and offer to share the results of your project.
PRESENTATION: Your presentation will last a MINIMUM of 8 minutes – which must include minimum 5 minutes of excerpts played from your recorded interviews and 2 minutes of you talking (to explain/analyze your project). The maximum length of your presentation depends on which day you signed up for – in some cases it will be 10 minutes, in some cases 11 minutes, and in a few cases 12 minutes. Your time must include set-up & take-down (getting your DVD, Youtube clip, PPT, etc. loaded & ready).
of fieldwork project
(due at the time
you give your presentation)
You must submit an analytical essay of at least 1200 words that demonstrates in a formal, academic, printed essay how the folklore you collected connects to ideas, examples, and concepts discussed in class. You must submit this in hard copy.
Your essay should discuss (in the form of an academic argument with a thesis) 2 main ideas: why this project is significant (what it means/suggests), and how it is folklore.
WHY/HOW is the Project Significant? What does it mean?
· What you think is most significant about the folklore you collected (why should we be interested in it)?
o For this you may analyze the actual content of the folklore.
§ For narrative based projects this means that instead of working with literature or research sources, the “text” you will analyze should be the transcribed text of the interview you conducted (hopefully including stories).
§ You might also analyze examples of material culture or customary folklore.
o Include some kind of analysis in your presentation of what the material you collected MEANS. What is its significance? Why is it interesting?
o Just as you would with a work of literature, use quotes and/or features (photographs, excerpts, quotations of your transcription) along with your analysis of them, as “proof” of your argument about what it means.
§ Show as well how your project reveals innovation, inspiration, a strong connection to community, and “unstandardized multiple variation.”
§ In other words, how is it folklore?
o What is most interesting about your project? What did you learn from doing this?
o Does it suggest anything about humanity more generally (or what it means to be human?)?
HOW (specifically) is your project folklore?
· Demonstrate how the folklore you collected (in your interview) connects to ideas, examples, and concepts discussed in class.
· How does the work you did in your fieldwork collection (final) project demonstrate the dynamism of folklore (be sure you show an understanding of that concept) as well as the related concept of “unstandardized multiple variation”?
· How does your project reveal innovation, inspiration, and art, as well as a strong connection to community; in other words, both the “lore” and the “folk”?
· Does your project connect to or illuminate other key concepts in folklore such as worldview, tradition, enculturation? If so, explain how (use quotes from the transcript)
· What specific GENRE does your folklore demonstrate (or genres)? NOTE: “Oral” or “story” are not genres. Give generic characteristics from class in order to prove your point here.
· Overall and most importantly, how is what you collected folklore?
TRANSCRIPTION (part of the required written portion of this project)
Listen to (or watch) your tape(s) shortly after you do the interview. Then listen again a few days later. Transcribe what you find to be the most significant (most interesting, best stories, best speaking) portion of your interview. The more accurate your transcription, the more points you will earn on this portion of your presentation.
· Transcribing means typing WORD for WORD EXACTLY what is spoken during the interview. Your goal is to produce an exact TEXT of the story (or stories) that you are focusing on and analyzing.
· You should include (in your presentation) a minimum of 900 words transcribed (which doesn't include the words indicating who is speaking, nor introductory explanations, nor analyses).
· Be aware that it often takes up to 10 hours to transcribe 1 hour of tape (though you only need to transcribe the part you will play in class – or 900 words, not the whole interview). Keep re-listening to each sentence and correct what you transcribe. Accuracy matters most! You must include appropriate punctuation, correct spelling, and exactly what the words on the recording are (in that order).
· Try to transcribe with an eye to ethnopoetics (arranging spoken words on the page according to performance aspects of the speech event) if appropriate. Not everything should be transcribed as poetry, but perhaps some parts of your interview should be.
· If there is rhythm or dialect, how will you indicate it? Be creative but accurate.
· Try to also record significant contextual events that might have also occurred during the interview (such as laughter or sighing or someone else coming into the room, speaking, etc.).
· Significant gestures (especially if you are working with a recording with visuals – or if you remember) may also be indicated
· Typically non-spoken components of your recording are indicated within square brackets [like this].
· YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TRANSCRIBE YOUR WHOLE TAPE!! Only transcribe the portion you actually plan to play.
What to turn in on the day of your presentation (in a manila envelope) with your NAME, the TITLE of your project) and the DATE written on the front of the envelope
· Three pages (minimum 900 words) of typed transcriptions of your interview (the part you will be playing in class)
· A permanent recording (for instance burned onto a DVD) of the full interview; you may also include the clips you play for class (as an edited clip) and any “film” version of this that you might make on the DVD. Please indicate (by time) the place where your transcription beings within the recording (including multiple spots if you cut and paste clips). Please LABEL the DVD.
· Signed, correctly filled-out and printed consent forms from all participants.
· Your full, printed (in academic format) analytical essay (minimum 1200 words) – explained on the previous page.
· Don’t forget all this must be submitted in a plain, manila envelope.
Your proposal should be very specific in answering the following questions.
Type up your answers and submit along with your proposed consent forms by the due date on the syllabus
1. Discuss in detail the type of folklore you plan to document (collect). Is it oral, gestural, material, or customary (or some combination thereof?)? What will the topic or focus be (what kind of stories -- about what?) How is this folklors? Be as specific and clear as possible.
2. Whom will you interview? (Include all names and relationship to you -- how you know this person or why you think he/she will be interesting) – this assumes you have already talked to these people and received their oral permission -- so do that first. Where will the interview take place? What equipment will you use?
3. When will you carry out the interview (or documentation)? For how long? Remember the minimum is 45 minutes with ONE person in one setting (NOT a series of short interviews nor short interviews with several people). ONE interview with the one person for a minimum of 45 minutes. Longer than that is fine. You will have to turn in the full recording to prove your interview lasts at least 45 minutes.
4. What specific stories or topics do you anticipate discussing/exploring? Include a list of 5 prompts (or questions) you think you might use during the interview to get your person talking well. For instance, if you are asking someone about stories you've heard before -- suggest to them, "Remember that story about how you first met grandpa on a blind date?" OR If you are interviewing a maker of folk art, you might get them to tell you stories of especially great pieces they made, how they got their inspiration, how others responded to it, how it has been used, etc. You might also ask them about hardest moments in their career, or most successful, or most embarrassing, etc. OR If you are interviewing a performer (such as a musician), you might ask them about things like how they get their ideas for writing music, what some of their pieces mean, or how they have been received by others. You might also ask about most embarrassing moments on stage, or most exciting, most successful, most disastrous, or interesting stories of road trips, relationships between band members, etc.
In all cases, you should be able to give a list of likely ways you think you can get your person talking well (telling good stories)
5. What do you anticipate you will learn from your fieldwork?
6. Why does this topic interest you?
REMEMBER TO ALSO MAKE YOUR CONSENT FORM (see below for model)! -- Do NOT just print this -- but cut and paste it into your word processor and fill in the required information (READ THE DIRECTIONS!!)
NOTE: The consent forms are to be SIGNED when you actually do the interview, due when you present your final project. Do not worry about getting signatures now (for the proposal) – just fill in the indicated spaces with your specific project info (title, name, phone number) and turn in the form for approval. Do not just cross out and write in your name, etc. Make it professional. You can cut and paste the form and easily type in your specific information (your project title -- be more creative than "folklore project," your name and your phone number) in the first few lines. That's all you need to do for now.
Folklore Fieldwork Project Consent Form
[-- FILL IN YOUR INFORMATION WHERE INDICATED -- for the proposal you only need to cut and paste this into your word processor and fill in the information in bold (your project title -- be creative and specific-- your name and your phone number).
DO NOT GET THE FORM SIGNED until you do the interview (after the proposal is approved). Note: The first blank space should be filled in by the person you interview (printed) WHEN YOU DO THE INTERVIEW, not now.
Do not keep these directions in the form you cut and paste -- delete everything between the "Folklore Fieldwork Project Consent Form" title and the end of this bracketed section]
I, _____________________________, agree to be a participant in the folklore research project [delete these directions and replace all bold, underlined type that follows here with your specific information for your project] the specific title reflective of YOUR Research Project (= your title), which is being conducted by Name(s) of Researchers (= your name), who can be reached at Researcher’s Phone Number(s) (= your phone number). I understand this participation is voluntary and that I will not be reimbursed for my participation. I also understand that the material collected may be archived at Georgia College & State University libraries, and may therefore be used for future collection, publication, or research purposes. No financial gain is anticipated from any such study.
The following points have been explained to me:
1. The purpose of this study is to collect, record, analyze, and appreciate examples of folklore for a class project. This might include stories, songs, personal experience narratives, explanations of material folklore, discussions of architecture or other spaces, performances, or demonstrations of folklore, which is understood as creative expressions in context or artistic communications of small groups.
2. The procedures are as follows. You will be asked to share your stories or other lore or expertise on lore with the student researcher(s). You will be tape recorded (by video or audio means). These tapes may be archived in the university library or the class professor’s files, possibly for use at a later date or in a later study. This archiving demonstrates and ensures that the recording of your performance, knowledge, expertise, and insight on the folklore in question is honored for future generations. There is no guarantee that every interview will be archived or used in the future.
3. You may choose to have your real, full, or partial name used in the study OR to have a pseudonym used in the study. Please indicate your preference by checking one of the following:
_______Use my real name OR ______ Use a pseudonym.
Please indicate the name you wish to be known by in the study: _________________________________.
Therefore, the study will refer to you according to your wishes and consent, which will be essentially anonymous if you choose to use a pseudonym. You may change this name at a later date if desired.
4. You will be asked to sign two of these consent forms. One form will be returned to the investigator and the other consent form you will keep for your records.
5. If this interview becomes invasive or personal or you become uncomfortable, you may cease participation at that time. No discomforts or distresses will be faced during this research.
6. No physical, psychological, social or legal risks exist in this study.
7. The results of this participation may be anonymous and may be archived to preserve your stories for future generations.
8. The investigator will answer any further questions about the research (see above phone numbers).
9. In addition to the above, further information, including a full explanation of the purpose of this research, will be provided at the completion of the experiment, if requested.
Signature of Investigator Date
Signature of Participant Date
Signature of Parent or Guardian Date
(if participant is under 18 years of age)
Research at Georgia College & State University that involves human participants is carried out under the oversight of the Institutional Review Board. Questions or problems regarding these activities should be addressed to Mr. Quintus Sibley, Director of Legal Affairs, 212 Chappell Hall, CBX 041, GC&SU, (478) 445-2037.
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