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Primary Research Guidelines and Sample Field Reports Writing a Questionaire Oral History Ethnographic Interview Observing Space Observing Classroom Observing Work 39 ow Writing a Questionnaire Everyone has strong preferences when it comes to what they like to read what they hate what they think is too sappy or gory or outright boring And since everyone knows what they like and why they like it it s often dif cult to imagine other peo ple s preferences Who reads those romance novels What is the audience for cyber fiction Does anybody outside of English teachers and the students they force to really still read Silas Mnmer For pleasure One way to find out what people like to read is quite simply to ask them For this assignment you will be doing just that by designing and distributing a ques tionnaire that asks people what they read for pleasure and how their reading tastes have changed over the years Design this questionnaire on your own with a small group of classmates or as an entire class it you do it on your own try to get fifteen to twentyfive responses If you work with a small group each person should get ten responses to compile a fairly large sampling lithe entire class uses the same questionnaire each person can get ten responses and have a substantial amount of information to sort through Even if you have only twentyfive responses to your questionnaire you will have more than your own and your classmates impressions from which to draw That kind of information can help you broaden your own response and begin to account for the differences as well as the similarities that you see around you SUGGESNONS FOR DESIGNING A QUESTIONNAIRE 1 Make it brief and readable lt is best to put your questionnaire on one side ot a page The simpler it seems to your audience members the more likely they will be to it Make it readabie as well Don t try to crowd too many questions on the page or make instruc tions complicated There should be plenty of white space and the language should be simple and direct Write different kinds at questions to get different kinds of answers The kind at questions that you ask will determine the kind at intormation that you receive It you ask questions that can be answered with a yes or a no then you will likely get more responses but less specific information it you ask people to write quite a bit you won t get as many par ticipants and might have trouble summarizing your findings N W Decide who will answer your questionnaire it you want to know what a certain age group is reading middle school or high school or college age students For example target that audience You might however want to know what older adults are reading and how their read ing interests have changed over the years Or you might want to know what women read or what men read You could also ask about a certain kind 0t reading Stephen King says that people love a good score but not everyone does iust as not everyone is tend ot romance nov els or stories about superheroes or Fantasy and science tiction You can create one kind 0t questionnaire to tocus on a particular kind at storymsuch as science ctionand try to get at what it is in those stories that appeals to the audience Writing a Questionnaire 353 It s probably best that you decide as a class or as a group what information you hope to get from your questionnaire The sample questionnaire below is adapted from Janice Radway s Reading the Romance 21 study of women whose favorite reading for pleasure is the romance novel Sample Questionnaire 1 At what age did you begin reading tor pleasure a S lO b l iQU C W 2l30 d 30 or above 2 Age today CI w l82l l3 2230 c 3045 d 4555 e over 55 3 What kinds oi books did you read ior pleasure when you were a teenager biography historical liction romances o b c d westerns e mysteries t comic books 9 sports stories he W other specity 4 What kind at book do you read tor pleasure now a w biography b historical iiction c m romances d westerns e mysteries t comic books 9 sports stories he other specity What kinds oi books do you never read tor pleasure a biography b historical tiction c romances d westerns e mysteries t comic books 9 sports stories h other ispecihll 6 What book or story have you read most recently tor pleasure Remember that your questionnaire should be designed to answer the questions you and your classmates have about reading for pleasure Some or all of these ques tions might be useful but be sure to target your audience decide on what you want to know and ask questions that can get at that information Report on Your Findings Once you have completed your questionnaire report your findings to the rest of the class Write a report give a presentation or design a chart or graph that Visually illus trates your ndings Oral History As you have seen oral histories such as the chapter Private First Class Reginald Malik Edwardsquot from Wallace Terry s Bloods An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans offer the personal perspectives of people who are caught up in the his tory of their time Oral history is a branch of historical studies that draws on the experience and memories of ordinary people to provide new insight into the mean ing and texture of historical events Sometimes referred to as quothistory from the bot tom up oral history is an organized effort to record the stories of people such as Malik Edwards who traditionally have been ignored by historians In this sense oral histories are important correctives to older versions of history that focus on quotgreat men geopolitics and institutions of power This does not mean however that oral histories are any more useful or author itative than traditional historical work that is based on archives government docu ments or the correspondence of national leaders Their value depends on how the oral historian handles the material once it is collected This fieldwork project asks you to do an oral history Follow these steps to get started 1 Choose a person and on event that will interest readersma Vietnam or Gulf War veteran someone with experience in the antiwar movement or the counter culture of the sixties an older person who remembers the Great Depression the bombing of Pearl Harbor the end of World War ll a trade unionist involved in an important organizing drive or strike The events listed here are largely on the national or international scene but you may also find infor mants to talk about an important and interesting local event 2 Prepare for the interview by familiarizing yourselfwith the event in question Do some background reading Develop a list of leading questions that will elicit detailed and indepth responses from your informant but don t be tied rigidly to them in the interview if it takes another potentially fruitful direction Set a time with your informant bring a tape recorder and conduct the interview 3 Type up a transcript from the interview that you can edit into an oral history Review point number three Writing the oral history for advice on editing your interview Considerations in Doing an Oral History 1 Selection Not every person will be a good interview subject even if he or she was intimately involved in an historical event some people just don t have interesting things to say Therefore oral historians usually select an informant who wants to share part of his or her past Moreover everyone s memory is selective in some sense Oral historians expect to get one version of events though it may be a perspective they didn t foresee 2 Interviewing The interview is not just a matter of turning on the tape recorder and allowing the informant to speak The oral historian should let 489 Oral History 939quot the informant know the purpose for the interview and encourage the infor mant to tell his or her history in detail but in keeping the informant on track the historian should be careful not to provide too much direction The infor mant may skip over what might be key information or tailor his or her recita tion to what the historian seems to want to hear Once an interview begins the historian faces many decisions wabout say whether a rambling account is going somewhere or if it is time to inter vene to redirect the informant or if stopping an informant to clarify a point will risk interrupting the speaker s train of thought Writing the oral history The transcript of an interview amounts to a kind of raw data that is likely to be filled with pauses asides fragmentary remarks false starts and undeveloped trains of thought The oral historian s task is to fashion an account that is faithful to the informant as well as readable There are several decisions that oral historians typically face at this point How much ofthe original transcript should be used Oral historians rarely use all of the material in the transcript In the Introduction to Portraits in Steel 1993 a collection of photographs and oral histories of Buffalo steel workers the oral historian Michael Frisch says he used as little as twenty percent of an original transcript and in no case more than sixty percent When they decide to omit material from the transcript oral historians are careful to make sure that their editing does not distort the informant s views or suppress important information How should the material in the transcript be arranged Oral historians often decide to rearrange some of the material in the original transcript so that related points appear together and the final version has a coherence that may be missing from the taped interview The oral historian is by no means obliged to follow the chronological order of the transcript but needs to make sure that any restructuring is faithful to the informant Should the intervieweris questions appear In many long oral histories such as in Wallace Terry s Bloods and the many oral histories by Studs Terkel Working The Good War American Dreams the oral historian crafts the interview into a narrative that is told through the informant s voice The oral historian stays out of the way and readers get the sense that the informant is speaking directly to them In other cases however the oral historian may decide to appear in the final text as an interviewer and the questionandanswer format gives the oral history more of a conversa tional character with a greater sense of dialogue and giveandtake How much editing should be done at the sentence level Oral historians face the task of turning the transcript into readable prose that retains the distinc tive qualities of the informant s voice Notice for example how Wallace Terry has edited Malik Edwards39s oral history so that it appears in com plete grammatically correct sentences but uses a few exceptions quotpeople be marchin into swamps quot cause it was nothin to shoot through the walls along with slang and profanity to suggest Edwards s particular way of speaking 94 if MUSIC CHAPTER 2 Generations Here are some suggestions to help you examine how a tilm represents youth culture How does the tilm portray young people What in particular marks them as quotyouthquot Pay particular attention to the characters39 clothing hairstyles body posture and ways at speaking How does the film mark young people generotionally Are the characters part at a distinctive youth subculture How would you characterize the group s collective iden tity What is the relation at the group to the adult world and its institutions What intergenerational conflicts tigure in the film How does the Film portray a particular historical moment or decade What visual clues enable viewers to locate the era ol the Film What historical events it any enter into the tilm How does the sound track contribute to the representation of youth culture that is projected by the Film How do the stars of the Film influence viewers perceptions otyouth culture Do they enhance viewers sympathies Are the main characters cultural icons like James Dean or Marlon Brando Ethnographic Interviews Music is one of the keys to generational identities Songs carry the emotional power to define for their listeners what it means to be alive at a particular moment Singers and musicians evoke generations and decades Frank Sinatra s emergence as a teen idol in the big band era of the 19405 Elvis Presley Little Richard Buddy Holly and early rock and roll in the 19505 the Beatles Rolling Stones Bob Dylan Motown and the Memphis sound of Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding in the 19605 the funk of Parliament and War disco and punk bands such as the Clash and Sex Pistols in the 19Os the megastars Bruce Springsteen Madonna and Michael Jackson the rap of Public Enemy and NWA alternative and the grunge groups of the 19805 and 19905 One way to gure out how people experience their lives as part of a generation is to investigate what music means to them The fieldwork project in this chapter investigates how people across generations use music daily to create maintain or subvert individual and collective identities The method isthe ethnographic inter view a nondirecnve approach that asks people to explain how theygmake sense of music in their lives Ethnographic means literally graphing getting down in the record the values and practices of the ethnos the tribe or group 39 Susan D Craft Daniel Cavicchi and Charles Keil The following three ethnographic interviews come From the Music in Daily Life Project in the American Studies program at the State University at New York at Buttalo The protect s goal was to use open ended ethnographic interviews to tind out what music means to peOple 0nd haw they integrate music into their lives and identi es Two undergraduate classes conducted Susor D Cram DanieE Covicchi and Charles Keil My Music 95 the interviews and began with the question What is music about tor youquot The classes setw lied on this question quotso as not to prejudge the situation and to give the respondents quotroom L to define music of all kinds in their lives Then the interviews were edited organized by age group and published in the book MyMusic l 993 The interviews that follow come from peo pie from three generations ages fifteen thirtythree and fiftyseven respectively SUGGESTION Keep in mind that the interviews you are reading were not scripted but are the result of inter FOR READING viewers onthespot decisions As you read notice how the interviewers ask questions and when they ask for more details or redirect the conversation EDWARDO Edwardo is fifteen years old and is enrolled in an auto mechanics program at a vocational high school Q What kind of music do you like to listen to A Basically l listen to anything i prefer rap and regularR and B and rock Q What groups do you listen to when you get a choice A When I m by mysolf i listen to rap like Eric B MC Hammer and KRS 1 People like that When I m with my friends I listen to Ozzie and Pink Floyd lron Maiden Metallica You know groups like that Q Why do you listen to different stuff when you re by yourself Different than when you re with your friends A Usually when I m over at their house they have control of the radio and they don t like to listen to rap that much Q What kind of things do you do when you are listening to music by yourself A l lip synch it in the mirror 1 pretend l m doing a movie Kind of embarrassing but i do that And I listen to it while l m in the shoWer Andthat s about all Q Would you like to be a professional musician A Kind of Yeah Q if you pictured yourself as a musician how would you picture yourself What kind of music would you play A to probably rap If I didn t i d like to play the saxophone Q When you re walking along do you ever have a song going through your head Do you have specific songs that you listen to and if not do vou ever make up songs A Yes I rap a let to myself i make up rhymes and have one of my friends give it a beat Some times we put it on tape Sometimes we don t Q Could you give me an example of some of the stuff you have put together on your own A I made up one that goes something like Now i have many mikeststepped on many floorsfShattered all the windowsknocked down all the doorsquot That sjust a little part of it This is hard for me l m nervous Q So what kind of things do you try to put together in your songs What kinds of things do you try to talk about in your songs A i make up different stories Like people run ning around Sometimes I talk about drugs and drinking Most of the time I just brag about myself Q Do you have any brothers and sisters who listen to the same sort of stuff A Yes My older brother he s the one who got me into rap We re originally from the Bronx in New York and he doesn t listen to anything else My cousin he listens to heavy metal but he s kind of switched to lateseventies earlyseyenties rock He listens to Pink Floyd and all them so 1 lisren with him sometimes i listen with my friends That s about all Q How long have you been listening to rap A For about seven or eight years Q What kind of stuff were you listening to before that A Actually i don t remember Oh yeah We used to live in California and l was listening to oldieslike the Four Tops and all them in Cali forniathe Mexicans down there they only lis ten to the oldies and Stuff like that Q Why would you say you Changed to rap 96 CHAPTER 2 Generations A When i came down here everything changed People were listening to different kinds of music and l was you know behind times So ij ust had to switch to catch up Q So you would say that your friends really influence you and the kind of music you listen to by yourself A Yeah i would say that Q When you39re listening to music by yourself what kinds of things go through your mind Are you concentrating on the words or what A Sometimes i think about life and all the problems i have Sometimes ijust dwell on the lyrics and just listen to the music Q Do you ever use music as a way to change your mood ii you re really depressed is there a record you put on A No Usually when i listen to music and it changes me is when l m bored and i don t have anything to do or ljust get that certain urge to iisa ten to music RALPH Ralph is thirtythree years old an experienced truck driver working as a bus driver for a city transit authority when he was interviewed by a male friend i was weaned on the music of the fifties My musical taste began to form in aboutwell my first record album was Chubby Checker s Let s Do the Twist that was 1961 i begged my mom for it i saw it up at a grocery store here i had to have it So she bought it for me 1 really dug that i still really dig those old rhythm and blues bands back then i was mainly a product of the BeatlesRolling StonesDave Clark Five era You know i never really cared for the Rolling Stones when they first came out My big group was the Dave Clark Five i thought they were it until i heard they died in a plane crash somewhere in France which was a big rumor of the day but two or three weeks later we found out they didn t die 1 was a Beatles generation kid i can still remember most of the lyrics of most of the songs they put out it s a result of conStant repetition of it being drummed into my head constantlyjust as i m sure that like somebody who was born in the seventiesDavid Bowiei m sure that a teenager in the seventies would know the words to his songs Ziggy Stardust the early Bowie Stuff Did the Beatles direct me Yes they had some influence on my life i hate to admit it but they did They always painted a rosy picture when l was growing up it was all love and peace the flower child movement But at that time someone who had a big influence on my musi cal life was my big brother He was bringing home stuff like the Supremes at the A Go Goblueswhich i really think is the Lord s music Today you can t find it anymore there is very little of it coming out if any Today s musicjust depresses me it s like the doldrums between 1973 to about 198before the new pop or new wave scene arrivedthe punkies the pop stars 1 can see things leading that way now too with all this techno pop Basi cally l was intoj azz at the time that s when i got my jazz influences with Monk Bird and Coltrane i used to lisren to those people heavily back in the early 19Os i really loved groups like the Mahavishnu Orchestra 1 lovejazz fusion and jeff Beck but there s some people I really don t care forPat Metheny i never cared for him why i don t know Maybe he has no character in his guitar It s like a bland speed shuffle Whereas people like Larry Coryell and john McLaughlin and jeff Beck jan Akkermanit s just so dis39 tincttheir own personal signature But guys like Pat Metheny and that guy who played with Chick Corea Al Dimeola they juSt don t sign their work it s all just mumbo jumbo to me Other people like them they sell right i don t know that s my personal taste i really appreciated any band with a truly outstanding guitarist some body you can say Ah now this is himl really appreciate that the signatures i like to hear music that l m nor going to hear anyplace else judge it for myself Another phase of my life i went through i really appreciated the blues From about 67 to 3972 was really my blues era when I was in college Of course a lot of peo 39f quotquoti wVi Susan D Croft Daniel Cow CllTCI PKW IQC ivi Vc39 C Keil My Music 97 ple were blues addicts then Everybody was get ting drafted for Vietnamthe blues were very popular back then You had a kit of English blues groups coming out like the original Fleetwood Mac Peter Greenwho i thought was a phe nome nal blues guitar player phenomenalldif latentgroups like the Hedgehogs A lOt of groups shucked it off and went commercial that really turned me off to them I also happen to like Beach Boy music all a ripoff of black history all a ripoff of black musicbut white funblack tun translated into white fun Surf music was big around 65 or 66 l ll admit it we were punks Ah let s seepunk Where did punk start out Malcolm McLaren Malcolm McDowell in Ct39ocawork Orange when he played the ultimate punk Alex Was it Richard Hell in 1974 in New York City with ripped Tvshirts and safety pins Punk is kind of a quaint way of expressing your sell it hasn t come to murder yet l wonder if it s gonna come down to murderrock You ve got savage beating and stuff like that I wonder if it s ever going to get there it39ll be interesting to see where it goes in the iuturelooking ahead These days i like to go into a bar with a dual ityjukeboxgo in there dump some quarters in the box and listen to the old songs STEVE Steve is fiftyseven years old and works as a salesman He was interviewed by his daughter Q Dad what does music do for you A What does music do for me Well music relaxes me in order for me to explain I have to go back and give you an idea exactly how my whole life was affected by music For example when l was five or six years old my mother and father had come from Poland so naturally all music played at home was ethnic music This established my ethnic heritage 1 had a love for Pol ish music Later on in lifelike at Polish weddings they played mostly Polish musicsince we lived in Cheektowaga and there is mostly Polish people and a Polish parish My love for Polish music gave me enjoyment when l was growing up and it car ried on all these years to the present time But naturally as i got educated in the English language i started going to the movies i was raised during the Depression and at that time the biggest form of escape was musicalspeo ple like Dick Powell Ruby Keeler Eddie Cantor Al jolson and Shirley Temple These were big stars of their day and in order to relax and forget your troubleswe all went through hard timeseverybody enjoyed musicals they were the biggest thing at that time A lot of musicals were shows from Broadway so as l was growing up in the Depression and watching movie musi39 cals i was also getting acquainted with hit tunes that came from Broadway ln that era Tin Pan Alley was an expression for the place where all these song writers used to write and compose music and these songs became the hits in the musicals Later on these writers went to the movies and it seemed as it every month there was a new hit song that everyone was singing Some of the writers like lrving Berlin Gershwin jerome Kern Harry Warren and Sammy Kahnsome of these songs are the prettiest songs that were ever written Even though i never played a musical insrrument or was a singer l was like hundreds of thousands of people in my era who loved music in tact radio was very popular at that time so you heard music constantly on the radio in the musicals and all my life i could sing a song all the way through knowing the tune and snow ing the words Later on in life when we get to WW ll music used to inspire patriotism and also to bring you closer to home when overseas For example one place that just meant music was the Stage Door Canteen in Hollywood All the stars of the movies and musicals used to volun teer their services and entertain everybody Later on as these stars went overseas and performed for the Bis i had a chance to see a lot of these stars in person stars that I really enjoyed see ing their movies and listening to their music So it was like bringing home to overseas Of course there was a lot of patrioric songs that stirred us we were youngsay the Air Force song like 98 CHAPTER 2 Generations Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunitionquot There was sentimental songs like quotThere ll Be Blue Birds Over the White Cliffs of Doverquot I Heard a Nightingale Sing Over Berkeley Squarequot But it was aCtually music that helped you through tough times like WW ll the way music helped you feel better during the Depressionin days that l was younger When l came back from overseas now l rn entering the romantic part of my life in my early twenties it was the era of the big hands One of the greatest events in music hisrory were bands like Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman the Dorsey Brothers and Sammy Kayebig bands were popular at the time you used to go to local Candy Kitchens and play thejukebox and just like some of the songs said it was a wonderful time to be with your friends Good clean enter tainment you liSten to thejukebox dance on the dance floor in the big band era we get into the popular singers who used to sing with the big bands They went on their own and the era of the ballads was born and to me this was my favorite era of music in my life l ll mention some of the big singersjust to give you an idea of what l meansingers like Bing Crosby Frank Sinatra Doris Day Margaret Whiting lo Stafford and Perry Como The time of your life when you meet the girl of your dreamsquot l was fortunate that we had the Canadiana lt wasjust like the Love Boat of its time They used to have a band and you used to be able to dance on the dance floor it they didn t have a dance band that night they would play records and you could listen to music rid ing on the lake at night under the stars and moon it was unbelievable that particular part of life lt s a shame the younger people of today couldn t experience not only the boat but a lot of the things we went through We thought it was tough at that time but it was the muSic that really made things a lot happier and the reason why it s so easy for someone like myself to hear a song and just place myself back in time at exactly where i was Was l in the Philippines or Tokyo or on the boat What were the songs that were playing when i first met my wife what were they playing when l was a young recruit in the Air Force All i have to do is heat the songs and it ll just take me back in time and i will relive a lot of the parts of my life and of course you only remember the good parts laughing You don t remember the bad Music to me is very important One thought that l wanted to mention about going back in time when l wasjust five or six years old my parents because they were from the old country played Polish music so that when I did meet the girl i was going to marryevery couple has a favorite song and ours was one that was very popular at that timeit was a Polish song to which they put American lyrics The song was Tell Me Whose Girl You Arequot and i think it was because my wife and l came from a Polish back ground that Polish music was still a very impor tant part of our life Q What music really did for you was to make you get through bad times and made you think of good things mostly right A W ll yes and l would say that music became part of my personality l use music to not only relax l use it to relieve tension About thirty percent of the time i am singing and it has become part of my personality because it has given me a certain amount of assurance Nor only does it relax me but i think it also bolsters my confidence in being a salesman where you have to always be up You can t be depressed Otherwise you re just going to waste a day l think music to me is also something that bolsters my spirit Q Does music amplify your mood or does it change your mood For example when you re in a depressed mood do you put on something slow or something happy to get you Out of that mood A Well when l was single if my love life wasn t going right l used to play sad songs Well i guess like most young kids when their love life isn t going right they turn to sad music l know that after l m married and have children and more E and Charles Mleusic 99 experience it i get in a depressed mood then i switch to happier music to change the mood Q What do you think about today s music A laughing I could give you enough swear wordsiNo seriously I will answer you l can do it right off the top of my head because l was in a restaurant this morning and i heard a song being played on the radio which was supposedly a big hit by a new big star Supposedly this fellow isjuSt as big as Michael jackson 1 think his name is Prince singing quotAll Night Longquot Lionel Richie and my God when I heard that record where they kept repeating the words over and over l said to myself God how terrible it is that these kids are not getting benefit of the music that we had when l was youngerquot because 1 can take one phrase and write a modern song I could do the lyrics And l m not musical Say Let s Go Mud Wrestling Tonight Let s Go Mud Wrestling Tonight You and 1 Let s Go Mud Wrestling Tonight We will be in the mud we will be in the mud After the day is over it s night so Let39s Go Mud Wrestling Tonight I really felt very sorry because I realize that the music that l m telling you about now music of my eran0t only gave me relaxation not only gave me a certain amount of stimulationthe lyrics of the songs actually educated me l would say thirty percent of what I know about life today was gleaned from songs You remember what you learned from a song Today l heard Paul Robeson singing Ol Man Riverquot and l rememr ber seeing the movie with Paul Robesonwrite best singer of all times and the story where it had a mixed marriage things going on nowthe problems of the black people lie sang take me away from the White Man Bossquot That phrase stuck in my mind because as i heard the song todayand this song was sung thirty or forty years agoi had also read in the editorial page why Reagan isn t the best candidate for the blacks because they are losing a lot of what they have gained and l began to realize what a long struggle these people are having Q So in other words some of the music you listen to taught you about the people singing it and gave you knowledge A Well not only taught me about the people singing but about lite in general conditions For example during the Depression there was a big hit Brother Can You Spare A Dime and the words went once i built a railroadnow I m asking for a handout lt wasn tjust the person singing the song but the times For example during the war era we sang songs that were not only patriotic but they taught us a let about what we were fighting for what was so important about saving America In a lot of cases the songs weren t written by the religious but they had some religious overtones and brought in some sense of faith SUGGESTIONS FOR DISCUSSlON 1 Edwardo s responses to the interviewer s questions are much shorter than Ralph s or Steve s One senses the pressure that the interviewer must have tell to keep the conversation going Ralph s interview though is one long response Steve s contains an extended statement that is followed by questiori and answer Take a second look at the questions that the interview ers ask oi Edwardo and Steve What do their purposes seem to be Try to get a sense oi how and why the interviewer decided to ask particular questions What alternatives ii any can you imagine Notice that the interviewees do not loll easily into one distinct musical subculture Each talks about a range of music How do Edwardo Ralph and Steve make sense oi these various forms ol musical expression Each oi the interviewees relates his musical tastes to particular social groups or moments in time Haw do they connect music to their relationship with others andor their memo ries at the past N W