Ethnographic Methods in Qualitative Research

Firstly, this essay outlines a definition of both qualitative and ethnography methods. It will then explain how four articles of qualitative research have used the ethnographic method. It will discuss each article then compare and contrast them. Finally, the essay will look at a critical analysis of ethnography by linking the articles to the data written. They are as follows: Impact of financial incentives on clinical autonomy and internal motivation in primary care: ethnographic study is article one; Assessing the promise of user involvement in health service development: ethnographic study is article two; Receptionist input to quality and safety in repeat prescribing in UK general practice: ethnographic case study is article three; and Role of ethnographic research for assessing behavior of employees during cleaning and sanitation in food preparation areas is article four. And finally, it will look at different perspectives on ethnography such as feminist and postmodernist.

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Qualitative research collects data that usually diary accounts, open-ended questionnaires, unstructured interviews and unstructured observations (Jamshed, 2004). This kind of research is hard to measure. It includes things such as eye colour or characteristics of something that are obtained by in-depth research through collecting rich data. Therefore, qualitative research can be described, rather than measurable data (quantitative) (Patton and Cochran, 2002).
Ethnography is used to represent the study of realism through knowledge and experiences, and the understanding of human behaviour, and in addition It consists of debates on the emergence of today’s society. Max Weber definition embraces the explanation and understanding by using the interpretive understanding of social action, where interpretivism is subjective meaning to social action. Schutz (1962) suggest it is observation on the experiences of everyday lives (Schutz, 1962, p. 59 cited in Bryman, 2008, p.16). Ethnography is a study of observation and interviews, and developing an understanding of the society and individuals’ behaviour. According to Sarsby (1984) “every field is different and it is being at the right place at the right time” (Bryman, 2008, p. 401) and building a relationship with partcipants.
Article one is a study that was done using observations and interviews. The research explores the attitudes and patterns of behaviour of the staff. The researchers had interviews that were both formal and informal conversations with most of the staff. To get the details it was requested that the partcipants described their job roles. They were asked what their views were on how it affected their jobs with new contracts (MacDonald, 2007). The methods they used were interviews and observations of involvement within the practice. They stated that the data of these methods helped to compare the behaviour of the staff (MacDonald, 2007).
With the interviews, they transcribed and coded to recognise the developing areas. They conversed with the research team frequently to assess expectations and also to categorise ways for more study (MacDonald, 2007). There are limitations to this study, as the researchers conducted insignificant samples and there were no views from the staff within the practices. Besides that, they found that they could not observe the motivation of the staff. This is because it might delay observations of their behaviour and the writing up of their findings (MacDonald, 2007). The research shows the early stages and there is a need for further research (MacDonald, 2007). The outline of the study where the structural deviations linked with the implementation of the quality and outcomes has shown the ways that doctors and staff relate to each other. In addition, it shows the difficulty in predicting “the long-term costs” of the changes (MacDonald, 2007).
Article two used participants’ observations and interviews, and collections of documentary evidence. It was led by professionals that determined the areas that needed improvement where partcipants users could take part (Fudge, 2008). It was hard to identify the effect on the services. Indeed, the study highlighted there was further knowledge of the personal gains for the staff who were involved (Fudge, 2008). By doing this research it gave increased knowledge about strokes and the services available for patients and specialists, and administrative staff (Fudge, 2008). There was not much evidence of direct user involvement of improving quality of services. In addition, there a lack of skilled staff was noticed (Fudge, 2008). The study has limitations because the programme is not directly generalisable to modernisation. Another limitation was that the study was only carried out two years of the three years that was predicted. It only provided part of the study where the user involvement continues to progress (Fudge, 2008). One strength of this research is that, by using the ethnography method, they are able to include participant observations. They can see what the staff actually do instead of what they say (Fudge, 2008).
The objective of the research in article three was to describe, explore and to compare organisational routines for repeat prescriptions in doctors’ surgeries. (Swinglehurst, 2011). The investigation involved mapping the prescribing service by building on a rich description of the organisational doctors’ surgeries, and also connecting them through combination reports on the repeat prescriptions (Swinglehurst, 2011). The research showed that the receptionists and administrative staff regarded themselves responsible to the patients when repeating prescriptions. It requires a “high degree” of modifying and the decision of receptionists where there is a need for an updated study for patient protection (Swinglehurst, 2011). It was found by researchers that the doctors were oblivious of the input of their receptionists and administrative staff, indeed, within the article there was no information in the policy documents and previous research. However, the staff were occasionally criticised for not getting work done and their indirect ways of safeguarding patients (Swinglehurst, 2011). The research discovered the relationship and pressures of the work they do daily, and to find ways of the issues within the surgeries, and to find a better way for the procedure of repeat prescriptions. They found their research was bigger than any other UK practice. Furthermore, the willingness of the staff being observed could have replicated features of the practice. This is common when observing, as using electronic patient records are combined with pharmacy systems (Swinglehurst, 2011).
Article four is a study that observes and undertakes interviews in the workplace. This is to see how they understand and explore practices of food handling and provide measures for the effectiveness of workplace training. The research shows that the results help to identify areas of improvement, by allowing the progress of training with the right tools. This is where the training is inputted from “primary production through to food handling by the consumer” (Crandell et al., 2015). This study used an ethnography method to collect the data of employees who did the cleaning and sanitation jobs (Crandell et al., 2015). Many tasks were identified while doing an observation interview procedure (Crandell et al., 2015). The study showed that there was a need for improvement and “to provide training and materials”, and also to regulate “whether the SOP and SSOP procedures were being followed as written and if not, why not?” (Crandell et al., 2015). The research found that there is a need for new and modified work flow, and with new tools and training (Crandell et al., 2015). The researchers used interviews with open-ended questions to fill the gaps that observations cannot pick up.
However, there are limitations with open-ended questions that can give diverse information; the answer could be irrelevant to the research, and also the question can be too complex and the interviewee could lose their way in the interview. Another problem is that the person who is being interviewed could be intimidated by the questions. It can be time consuming and the interviews take a long time to transcribe and code. Strengths of open-ended questions interviews include that they can allow for unlimited possible answers and can be answered in detail. Some findings could be gained that the interviewer had not thought of using before.
This essay will now use critical analysis of the ethnography method, and it will discuss the findings within the study. An example of ethnography is the Chicago School of Social Research. Robert Park encouraged students to study and observe the continuous changes of social occurrences of Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s. The research was extensive in areas such as “crime and deviance, race relations and urbanism” (May, 2001, p.147; Bulmer, 1984a; Kurtz, 1984). It is claimed that the researcher was part of the study in order to get an understanding of changes by participating and recording their experiences (May, 2001, p.148).
However, it can be argued that individuals act on principles from their environments. This is because they can understand the actions of individuals who occupy and produce cultures, defined as symbolic and learned aspects of human behaviour. Becker (1979) states that there is a need to recognise the difficulties and concepts in order to determine the information within the study (May, 2001, p148). Ethnography leads to an empathetic understanding of a social setting. Glaser and Strauss (1967) state that it should be related to the behaviour of the study. As the researcher is exposed to each social setting it acts as a control on reaching rushed conclusions (May, 2001, pp. 150-151). It is possible that researchers will omit a whole range of data in order to confirm their own pre-established beliefs, leaving the method open to the charge of bias. Furthermore, the observation of small-scale setting leaves it open to the charge that its findings are local, specific and not generalisable. It therefore lacks external validity. This may be challenged by arguing that the observed social setting is “typical”, by adopting the perspective of realism and examining the generative mechanisms of human interaction (May, 2001, pp. 170 – 171, Porter, 1993), or using a variety of data sources (May, 2001, p.171).

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This essay will now compare the four articles. All articles used an ethnography method with interviews and observations. Article one and two did a small amount of research. It is clear if the study was done over a longer term it would have been more accurate. This is because the researchers would have rich and more detailed data. Article two is an example of this statement. It was smaller than the researchers predicted ― they only researched for two years instead of the three years they predicted. Article one had no mention of the views from the staff and in article three the doctors were unaware of what administrative staff do within the practice. However, they were often asked what they have done within the day. Article four used open-ended questions to fill in the gaps that observation could not identify. However, it can be argued that the questions can be complex and all the answers are not recorded. The first research only used a small group of researchers; the study does not show the views and the outcomes of observation in the study. There were many consequences and it was difficult to recognise the impact of the services. The research found that there is a lack of technical knowledge. However, other studies have shown it helps with the running of the surgery. The third undertook an investigation by charting the services to build a rich description. It showed it is essential for quality and services on repeat prescriptions. Also, it highlights the work that the receptionists and administrative staff do in the background. Indeed, teamwork is essential for patient safety. Finally, the fourth study identifies areas of improvement and training with the right tools. The study evaluates the cleaning process of working with food. Documents were observed and identified the need for improvements in employee training with the right tools, and training for improvement.
This kind of research has proved to be first-rate and it seems to be an ideal way to study. Even though there are differences among areas of study, it has delivered an in-depth collection of data. It also often determines more research that needs to done. There are limitations too; time is an issue for ethnographic studies and there are costs with doing full in-depth research. Another example would be funding ― to do an in-depth research will cost money to do. It will be cheaper to do a survey then an investigation over a long time.
However, the main challenge would be acceptance from the people they are studying. They need to be accepted in the area of a study to get the best results. The progress is important to find out the key informants to conduct this kind of research. This is because they would undertake regular reviews and the researchers need to have a good rapport with them. When conducting research participant observation involves looking and listening. The objective is to see individuals in their usual background; the investigator should not interrupt the setting. Blending into the background is usually recommended. However, it can be impossible, for example, when observing in a classroom will be out of place. This can result in an artificial setting (Taylor et al., 1995, p621). However, it can be difficult to observe sometimes a participant observer and interviewers are unclear because researchers usually write up the day’s finding on the day while they are still fresh in their minds. However, even doing it on the same day information can be left out due to the fact that the researcher cannot remember everything that has be spoken in the interview.
Feminist approach suggests that issues concerning women are often overlooked. Looking through the feminist lens they believe that it is how we think, such as what is the truth and what is false, (epistemology) and it is the reflection of the researcher understanding of what is fact(ontology). According to Marcus (1992) “realist ethnographers believe in coherence, community, historical determination and structure” (Skeggs, Nd, p.431). In addition, “there is a reality out there which can be discovered and identified.”(Skeggs,Nd, p.431). Marcus also suggest that it is “the question of who or what controls and defines the identity of individuals, social groups, nations and cultures (Skeggs, Nd, p.431).
Postmodernists ethnographers focuses on the pressures of issues of globalisation, and the movement of people, and the everyday relations of the world (Weiss and Wesley, Nd). Therefore, different perspectives see ethnography in a different way, and also do their study in various differences of their research. They argue that the “nature of knowledge has changed to a new radical” theories. The theory of knowledge (epistemology) claims that the truth can be discovered by the use of the correct techniques. In addition, it used to evaluate what is true and what is not, however, postmodernist believe it is possible to rule out the knowledge as being untrue (har & Hol, yr, pp. 904/5).
In conclusion, this essay has looked at how qualitative research and ethnography methods are used in four different articles. It has sought to identify similarities and differences of using ethnography within research. All four used ethnography with observation and interviews. In the studies, they all highlighted that there is a need for further research and training is needed in all areas of these works of research. Each work of research was done in different areas; however, they have similar aspects in what they covered. However, they have used the study in different ways. It has shown that, when using the qualitative research and ethnographic method, there are strengths and weaknesses. Before starting the research, these have to be examined before deciding on what method to use. By looking at different views on ethnography, it highlights that they look at it in different perspectives of the work of ethnography method.

Ifugao Culture: Ethnographic Research

What is the name of your chosen culture? What is the meaning of the name in English? Do the people in your culture call themselves this name – if not, what do they call themselves and what does it mean in English? Do neighboring groups call them something else? If so, what is that, and what does it say about relations between the two groups? Add your own ideas…
The name of the chosen culture is Ifugao. The origin of the Ifugao comes from the term Ipugo, which means “from the hill”. According to their mythology, their name is derived from Ipugo which refers to the rice grain given to them by their God, Matungulan. Also, others say that the name comes from the word “I-pugaw” which loosely translates to “inhabitants of the earth.” Neighboring people refer to the Ifugao people as Kiangianl. Today, the people who inhabit this province refer to themselves as the Ifugao, although the area contains people who are not.

Where is your culture located?

The Ifugao culture inhabits an area of roughly 750 to 970 square miles in northern Luzon, which is located in the Philippines. The culture resides in the most rugged and mountainous parts of the Philippines, which is high in the Gran Cordillera Central in northern Luzon. The Gran Cordillera Central of Northern Luzon is consumed with a wide variety of natural areas. According to Fowler, “The Gran Cordillera Central of Northern Luzon is a jumbled mass of lofty peaks and plummeting ravines, of small fecund valleys cleaved by rainfed, boulder-strewn rivers, and of silent, mist-shrouded, moss-veiled forests wherein orchids in their deathlike beauty unfold like torpid butterflies.” The mountainous peaks rise from 1,000 to 5,000 meters and are drained by the waters of the Magat River. According to Siangho, “Their neighbors to the north are the Bontco; to the east Gaddang; to the west Kankanay and Ibaloy; and to the south the Ikalaham and Iwak.” It is believed the Ifugao were likely inhabitants of the nearby fertile plains, which is greatly opposite of their current dwelling. It is also believed that they were driven out of these plains by Malaysians because of their superior weapons. This is why they currently reside in the mountain side.

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The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago of approximately 7,000 islands. The first people arrived about 100,000 years ago. These individuals were hunters and gatherers who survived off of the land’s basic resources. Thousands of years later, people arrived from Asia and brough with them agricultural skills and social structure. From this cross-cultural intermingling, a culture was created and the Philippines was born.

What language do people in your culture speak? Provide some details about the language – specifically, the “language family” it belongs to, and an interesting fact or two about its structure. (Example: in Sinhalese, at the end of an interrogative, you have to add a special “question mark” word.) Add your own ideas…
The language name of the Ifugao people is Ifugao. The language family proceeds like this: Austronesian Malayo-Polynesian, Northern Luzon South-Central, Cordilleran Central, Cordilleran Nuclear, and then Cordilleran Ifugao. Therefore, the language family of the Ifugao language is Malayo-Polynesian.
There are Four divergent dialects of the Ifugao language: Amganad, Batad, Mayoyao, Tuwali, each with distinct varieties: Amganad: Burnay Ifugao, Banaue Ifugao; Batad: Ayangan Ifugao, Batad Ifugao, Ducligan Ifugao; Tuwali: Apao Ifugao, Hungduan Ifugao, Lagawe Ifugao.
As stated by “The Ifugao – native people,” “The Ifugao have a language that changes from village to village. Dialect and change of pronunciation can make it a real challenge to maintain a conversation between neighboring villagers. However, an official language dictionary has been produced.”

Population within Ifugao society in the twentieth century has varied anywhere from 60,000 to over 100,000. According to Malone, “Population density in some areas approaches 400 per square mile.” The only architectural structures noted for this group of people are the houses in which they reside and their extensive rice patties that extend from halfway up the mountain side all the way down to the bottom of the valley.
The Ifugao people live in hamlets. These are like tiny communities that are located alongside the mountain near an owners rice patty. There are approximately 8 to 12 houses per hamlet. There are also building for the unmarried, which is discussed later in this assignment.

Describe the houses in your culture (straw huts, mud walled thatched roof dwellings, etc.). Be as detailed as possible, including size, layout, materials, colors, even prices if available. Who lives in a typical house? Women, men, children, elderly? Animals? Add your own ideas…
The houses of the Ifugao people are very small. The typical household consists of the nuclear family. A nuclear family is a family consisting of only a mother, father and their children. Once a child becomes a teenager and he or she is old enough to take care of his or herself, they go in live in either boy or girl homes. Typically the Ifugao house sits on four sturdy posts, with no windows. According to Fowler, “Inside there is an open earth and stone fireplace for cooking and floor mats for sleeping and sitting. Family paraphernalia, such as baskets, bowls, clothing, skills (human and animal), and magic items, are hung from the walls or stacked on carved shelves. Although Ifugao houses vary little from this basic configuration, houses of nobility often feature differences, such as massive Hagabi lounging benches, decorated attic beams, kingposts and doorjambs carved with human effigies, and ornate exterior frezies portraying pigs, carabao and other animals.”
The adults and their smaller children (one’s who can not take care of themselves) live together while children who can maintain their own lifestyle live in different houses. When the teenagers reach the age where they become interested in the opposite sex, the male teenagers leave their house during the day to meet females in other houses. From this intermingling, couples eventually form. Soon after a girl becomes pregnant, the couple will wed. After marriage, the couple will either build their own home, live in a home of someone who has died without kids, or live in a home left by one of their parents. After they settle in to their house, it is the mom’s duty to take care of the child and the dad’s duty to provide for the family.
Student Response:

How do the people in your culture make a living? Describe what anthropologists call their “adaptive strategy.” (foragers, horticulturalists, pastoralists, agriculturalists, industrialists). Provide some details about their subsistence system (what game do they hunt, what crops do they grow, what animals do they herd, etc.). Add your own ideas…
People in the Ifugao culture live a very basic lifestyle to make a living. The usual lifestyle consists of agriculture and hunting, with anthropologists characterizing the adaptive strategy as agriculturists. According to Malone, “Ifugao subsidence is derived principally from agriculture (84 percent) with an additional ten percent derived from the raising of aquatic fauna, such as minnows and snails, in flooded rice fields. The remaining six percent of subsistence involve fishing (fish, eels, frogs, snails and water clams); hunting (deer, wild buffalo, wild pigs, civet cats, wild cat, python, iguana, cobra, and fruitbat); and gathering of insects (locusts, crickets, and ants) as well as large variety of wild plants.” As we can see, the main duties are tending to the rice patties. The men are usually the ones that participate in the hunting and fishing. When the men hunt after wild deer and pig, they usually use hunting dogs to assist them. The dogs are not raised to eventually eat (like some nearby cultures); the Ifugao people respect and admire dogs.

Describe your culture’s political system. Use the anthropological terms we have learned in class (band, tribe, chiefdom, state). Provide some details about the culture’s power/authority system – how do individuals get into a position of power? What are traditional methods of social control and conflict management? Add your own ideas…
The Ifugao political system is better characterized as a sociopolitical organization. According to the article, Ifugao – Sociopolitical Organization, “Traditionally, social differentiation has been based on wealth, measured in terms of rice land, water buffalo and slaves. The wealthy aristocrats are known as kadangyan. The possession of hagabi, a large hardwood bench, occurs their status symbolically. The Ifugao have little by way of a formal political system; there are no chiefs or councils. There are, however, approximately 150 districts (himputona’an ), each comprised of several hamlets; in the center of each district is a defining ritual rice field (putona’an ), the owner (tomona’ ) of which makes all agricultural decisions for the district.”
Government is poorly established among the Ifugao’s. According to Malone, “The functions of government are (or were) accomplished by the operation of collective kinship obligations, including the threat of blood feud, together with common understanding of the adat or custom law given the people by ancestor heroes, in particular the inviolability of personal and property rights.”
Men earn respect according to their rice patty’s. The bigger their patty is, the high status they have in the community. Also, within the Ifugao community, there is a “rice chief”. The rice chief is one of the leading priests and the people respect him for religious authority, but he does not have ultimate authority over the Ifugao people. For the most part, people are “on their own” when it comes to government control.

Use anthropological terms to describe your culture’s kinship system (matrilineal, patrilineal, etc.). Provide a brief definition of that type of kinship, and then say why your culture fits that definition. Describe the kinship terminology, and provide examples. Add your own ideas…
According to Malone, “Each sibling group is the center of an exogamous, bilateral kindred.: Essentially, this is descent traced and kinship groups assigned through both male and female lines with marriages being “outbred” instead of “inbred” relationships between families. Basically, people don’t marry within their family, but outside of it.
The adults and small children all live together. When the child comes “of age”, which is basically a teenager, they move out of their parents house and live on their own in a second house with other kids their age of the same sex. When the men begin to search for wives, they leave their houses during the day and the women stay in their homes to greet and welcome men. They start in a very cool and calm atmosphere, such as jokes and casual talk, but eventually relationships form. After a girl becomes pregnant, they will wed. At this point the couple will either build their house or inhabit a house left by their parents or someone who has passed away without children. When they are settled in, the mother’s duty is to care for the child while the father hunts for food for the family.

Describe your culture’s marriage system. How do people choose a mate? Is there a particular category of person an individual is supposed to marry (example: in El Nahra, where Elizabeth Fernea lived, people were supposed to marry their cousins). Are marriages arranged, or do individuals get to pick their own spouses? Could you imagine yourself getting married the way people do in that culture? Add your own ideas…
Marriage within the Ifugao culture is quite simple. The normal form of marriage in the Ifugao society is monogamy. Monogamy is being married to only one person at a time. Although monogamy is widely practiced, polygyny is practiced occasionally by the wealthy. Even thought the defimition of polygyny is that either male or female may have multiple spouses, it is mailnly the males that have multiple wives. In these situations, the first wife has higher authority and status than her co-wives.
According to Malone, “Marriages are alliances between kindreds. First cousin marriages are forbidden in practice and theory, but marriages to more distant cousins can take place.” These marriages can take place with a payment of fines in livestock.
The men are able to choose their wives within this culture. There are no established or set marriages for the Ifugao people. When the men are interested in marriage, they begin meeting other women in their society. When they begin their relationship, it is a very casual environment. Eventually it become serious, and after the woman is pregnant, the man and wife get married. They will then move into their own place together to begin their family.
This seems pretty similar to the American marriage system on the fact that we look for and choose our own mate. Some people get married before they are pregnant while others get pregnant before they are married (although some people may never marry). I think this is definitely a culture I could be a part of, in the sake of their marriage system that is.

How would you describe gender relations in your culture? Do men and women live completely separate lives, as in Guests of the Sheik, or do they mix it up? How much power do women have over their own lives and the lives of others? Do women have official political power? Is there a gender division of labor (there has to be – every culture has one!)? Given your own gender, would you like to live in that culture? Add your own ideas…
Student Response:
Ifugao society is much separated. Men and women live apart unless they are married and/or brother and sister, but even at a certain age of childhood; they go and live on their own, away from their parents. Men are the ones who hold political power, or lack thereof, in the Ifugao culture. Usually, the only “powerful” people in this society are men who are respected because of their wealth. The division of labor is set between the genders as well. Since this a very simplistic culture, the women tend to the children and house work while the men tend to the fields of rice and hunting food for the family. I would call it a classic, nomadic style of life.
Another note that women are not as “powerful” or highly touted as men is the fact that, in the case that polygyny does exist, it is with multiple wives and usually not multiple husbands. This form of marriage is very rare and only among the elite and rich people in the culture.
For me, I wouldn’t like to live within this culture. I think it is good for men and women to mix and mingle within the workplace, home, and political power. Men and women bring different ideas and ways of life to the table, and I think a successful culture allows men and women to intermingle freely. Therefore, I would not want to live in the Ifugao society.

Describe the religion (or religions) found in your culture. Do people believe in a god or gods? Do people in your culture practice magic? If so, what kind? How has missionary activity affected people in your culture (if it has) Add your own ideas…
Religion is an essential part of the Ifugao culture and is significant in every phase of life. Their religion provides a means by with the unknown can be approached and understood. Ifugao religion is a very complex structure based on ancestor worship, animism, and magical power. According to Fowler “The Ifugao pantheon consists of innumerable spiritual entities that represent natural elements, forces and phenomena in addition to ancestral and methphysical beings. The trust and confidence that the Ifugao have in these beings allow them to face what is often a complex and frightening world with a great deal of confidence and understanding. They believe that the gods and other beings are approachable and can be influenced by the proper rites and behavior to intercede on behalf of an individual or the entire community. Generally the gods are viewed as generous and benign beings who enjoy feasting, drinking wine and chewing betel nut, as do the Ifugao themselves. However, the gods are quick to anger and if ignored or treated badly can quickly become ill-tempered, demanding tyrants capable of causing misfortune and injury.”
The Ifugao people have created ceremonies to honor and respect their deities, although some are rarely acknowledged or called upon. Others, who control daily life, such as agriculture and health, are constantly worshipped and called upon. The greatest importance to the Ifugao are rice or agricultural deities which have the power to ensure bountiful crops and actually increase the amount of rice already in storage.

Interesting fact

Provide one additional interesting fact about your culture. Do they have a fascinating set of ideas about illness, disease and curing? Describe it. Do they have an elaborate art style? Describe it. Do they engage in sexual practices that strike you as very different from that of Western Society? Talk about it. Do they have a particular type of body modification (scarification for example) or style of body adornment? What is it? You don’t have to answer all of these questions – pick one or one of your own choosing and provide as much information as you can find.
Although the Ifugao have no knowledge in writing, they were capable of creating a literature that matches with some of the country’s finest in epic and folk tale. Their literature is passed orally. Their riddles serve to entertain the group as well as educate the young. One such example of an Ifugao riddle is, according to Siangio: “Dapa-om ke nan balena ya mubuttikan nan kumbale.” This translates to: “Touch the house and the owner runs about.” The answer is spider.
When the Ifugao gather together, they use proverbs to give advice to the young. These proverbs are used to stress a points. The ones who have gone to formal school begin their lectures before large meetings or gatherings with proverbs. Here are a few Ifugao proverbs according to Sianghio:
“Hay mahlu ya adi maagangan :: The industrious will never go hungry. Hay “uya-uy” di puntupong hi kinadangyan di ohan tago. :: The feast is the yardstick of a person’s wealth. Hay itanum mo, ya hidiyeh aniyom :: What you have planted is what you will reap.”
Ifugao myths usually are about hero ancestors, gods and other supernatural beings. They story lines usually have these heroes facing problems that they are currently facing. This allows the Ifugao people to provide hope and comfort to their homes. When these stories are recited, they are usually in barked-out, terse phrases followed by the tulud, which means “pushing”. The tulud aims to bring the magical powers that stand behind the myth. At the end, the clincher kalidi is chanted and the narrarator enumerates the benefits which should be obtained from the myth. The myths are usually concluded with the phrase, “because thou art being mythed.” They have myths that cover common cultural stories such as: creation of the world, creation of man, great battles and epic struggles. They also have stories that cover other worldly known events, such as the “great flood” or “Noah’s Arc” to the Bible. According to Sianghio, “Other Ifugao legends that have been recorded include, “The Legend of the Ambuwaya Lake”; “The Origin of the Pitpit or The Bird of Omen”; “Why the Dead Come Back no More”; and “How Lagawe Got Its Name”.”
Other such important tales are the magical stories, called abuwab. These tales are believed to possess mystical powers. According to Siangho, “Examples are the “poho-phod” and “chiloh tales”, which are usually told in death and sickness rituals. The abuwab is usually about the legendary husband and wife, Bugan and Wigan.”
Also, Siangho says, “The Ifugao epics are chanted romances telling of the origins of the people, the life and adventure of the Ifugao heroes, the valor of men and the beauty of women, as well as ancient customs and traditions.”

Fowler, John. “The Ifugao: A Mountain People of the Philippines.” Tribal Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. .
Froiland, Andrew. “Ifugao.” Ifugao. Minnesota State University, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. .
“Ifugao – Sociopolitical Organization.” Countries and Their Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2009. .
Malorie, Martin. “Society – Ifugao.” The Center for Social Anthropology and Computing. University of Kent at Canterburry, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2009. .
Sianghio, Christina. “Ifugao.” N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2009. .
“The Ifugao – native people.” eSSORTMENT. N.p., 2002. Web. 4 Dec. 2009. .


Challenges to Ethnographic Research

Ethnography in the post-modern era is no longer as simple as it once was – when it was normal to be an armchair anthropologist ‘ethnographic’ work required much less mental gymnastics – today ethnography requires researchers to walk a very fine line in order to produce a thoughtful and impactful piece of research. This has been the case since anthropology underwent a period of internal critique in the 1980’s changing the face of written ethnography. Since then anthropology has been trying to put to bed our “perilous ideas [namely] race, culture, [and] people” (Wolf et al. 1994:1) and the effort has heightened anthropology’s awareness of how it produces knowledge. The tightrope act researchers must walk today requires them to carefully balance their use and investigation of universal claims with, their authority and writing style. A lapse of either one will unbalance the carefully constructed microcosm they are trying to represent. This is further complicated by calls for a more engaged anthropology that at times seems unsure of its own best practices. If we are to “engage in the utopistics of inventing the alternative order” (1994:10) as Immanuel Wallerstein asks us to, then before we dance, we need to be sure we have made it to Rhodes.

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The volatile concepts discussed by Eric Wolf are quite possibly the most problematic universals that have been used in anthropology. As Wolf ponders in this article “how they allow us to think.” (1994:2) and the effects of their imposed structure he reveals one of the major weight’s researchers need to balance; the idea of culture. Culture as a concept has itself undergone a number of changes in its definition moving from a universal idea of a people toward a particularistic concept. Despite rallying against typological practices Boas’ notion of culture would still encourage a universal application of the concept which in part was borne out in Alfred Kroeber’s work with Charley Nowell. Nowell was Kroeber’s primary informant about the culture of the Kwakiutl Indians (Reed-Danahay 2019), which as a practice is entirely opposite the Boasian perspective that “no culture was due to ‘the genius of a single people’ ” (Boas, quoted in Wolf et al. 1994:5). To take one perspective and project it onto a group of people was not particularizing but instead a heavy-handed generalization. It wouldn’t take long however for anthropology to take to investigating the heterogenous elements of cultural systems but these investigations would still fail to focus on how these elements intersected (Wolf et al. 1994).
Despite the criticisms leveled by Boas about the use of universals they continued to persist and, in many ways, anthropology via universals played a very large role in the 19th and 20th century creation of the nation-state. The monolithic idea that there is such a thing as one Russian culture that is geographically bound by the very arbitrary lines drawn on maps is profoundly false, but continues even today. Ethnographers in this way are no less innocent than geographers, the “ethnographic maps” (Gupta and Ferguson 1992:7) produced in the 20th century of Nuerland is just one example that assumed that there was a form of homogenous cultural identity among the Nuer (Gupta and Ferguson 1992). The world as it had been known was drastically changing in the 1990’s with the dissolution of the Soviet Union rendering the “stark opposition of ‘East’ and ‘West’ … [and] the ethnocentric formula it” (Geertz 2000:221) represented to be even more useless. This has left anthropology with two big questions that Clifford Geertz asks rhetorically in chapter eleven of his book Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics (2000) the first one being “What Is a Country if It Is Not a Nation?” (2000:231). Paying careful attention to the Geertz’s use of capitalization gives us an insight into his overall argument about this question, a title written in American English does not usually capitalize words such as ‘is’ or ‘it’. The stress is being focused very specifically on the qualities of a country if it is distinctly not a nation. He argues much like Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson do that identities are not singular to their geography or culture area and are not homogenous (1992). Geertz uses the history of the former Yugoslavia to illustrate this, as there are people who still define themselves as a Yugoslav despite the fact that Yugoslavia no longer exists. The converse example also existed within Yugoslavia when it did exist as a nation, the people of Croatia went as far as to adopt the Latin alphabet to differentiate themselves from the people of Serbia and later from Yugoslavia as a whole (2000). Despite the fact that this criticism was offered by the Boasian’s that “cultural integration could not be assumed; where it was asserted, it had to be demonstrated.” (Wolf et al. 1994:5) anthropology has continued to apply universals of culture into the present day.
Geertz’s second provocative question “What Is a Culture if It Is Not a Consensus?” (2000:246) applies much more sharply to anthropological methods and theory today. Dealing with the world in universals is much more difficult when it “is neither divided at the joints into ingredient sections nor a transcendent unity – economic, say, or psychological – …  thin and concocted.” (Geertz 2000:250). The way people have come to define themselves in the world is in opposition to their environment, it is what “makes Serbs Serbs, Sinhalese Sinhalese, or French Canadians French Canadians” (Geertz 2000:249). In doing so however this creates methodological issues, universals such as ‘American’ need to be carefully analyzed for all of the aspects that do not form the consensus that is assumed to stem from ‘American’ culture. Anna Tsing the author of Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (2005) interrogates the universals she encountered during her field work in Indonesia very carefully as not only is she conducting ethnographic research but she is writing as an engaged anthropologist (2005:pt. 3).
The call for an engaged anthropology which George Marcus saw as the call for “the incorporation into the ethnographic knowledge-making process itself … of an explicit and authoritative participatory role by one’s subjects, from whom ‘epistemic partners’ in the research emerge.” (2012:38). This focus on being collaborative with ones subjects is evident throughout Tsing’s (2005) book but perhaps most notably on the very first and last pages of the book. On these pages there is an enlarged version of a list of “ ‘all the contents of this earth, this island Borneo’ ” (2005:155) that she made in collaboration with her friend Uma Adang. This takes place in the vignette just before the last chapter of part two where she had been deconstructing the universal idea of environmentalism starting from its first inception with John Muir (1838-1914). Muir was a Scottish immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1849 and is credited by many conservationists and scholars as the first link in the chain between scholars and philosophers, with the environment. Muir’s environmentalism was one of conservation seeing nature as pure and in dire need of conservation and protection from all human impact; including the Native Americans living on these lands (Tsing 2005:chap. 3). Uma Adang in this moment is appealing to – albeit, updated ideas – of the conservationism of Muir by listing what she can of the biodiversity of Borneo. However, she is also in direct opposition to the Western classification system used to name biological life which is the hegemonic conception of biodiversity, as she is creating the list she does not use the Latin names, and considers their local uses of the flora and fauna (Tsing 2005:chap. 5). The incorporation of Uma Adang’s voice in chapter five and the continual juxtaposition of the local and the universal situate this work in a more engaged anthropology framework, despite its ultimate focus on global connections (Tsing 2005; Marcus 2012). 
By carefully deconstructing universals like that of global environmentalism Tsing is balancing her authority and her carefully (de)constructed universals. This no doubt comes from the rich background literature she cites in the back of the book which includes ideas on universals from Hegel to Judith Butler. In her footnotes to her introduction Tsing (2005) states that: “One must learn to generalize from one instance to another, to see an underlying or emergent principle of commonality across apparent difference. The principle must tie both instances not just to each other but to a radically open field that could at least potentially cover all other instances” (2005:274 n. 8). Following this line of thought it is easy to see the appeal of universals, as they claim to encompass the particularities of life in all of their varieties. This technique has been used by many people with different goals including political activism, universals used for political activism are considered engaged universals. In footnote 14, Tsing discusses two similar perspectives of engaged universals, Judith Butler’s linguistic metaphor on universality which stresses the role of translation, and Ernesto Laclau’s discussion of the role of contingency in how universals can foster political activism and thus create social change(2005:274–275 n. 14). Both of these ideas need to be considered carefully in the methods of autoethnography, especially the role of contingency. Historically contingency helps the universal come to life across disparate particular realities, without it political activists cannot turn particular complaints into a community universal (Tsing 2005:275 n. 14). This is how Tsing’s book culminates, after laying out the history of, logging, resource exploitation, and corruption she recounts a meeting at which a group of activists who had drawn upon the recent history (that which was outlined by Tsing) to connect the issues of logging to issues of environmentalism and ultimately to the people of the Meratus Mountains. Despite speaking to a diverse group with different understandings of the environmentalism universal (a fundamental cause of friction or mistranslation) “The Forrest of Collaborations” (Tsing 2005:245) was able to create social change as the activists from Manggur fought to have their voices translated into the universals of environmentalism and liberalism (Tsing 2005:chap. 7).
Momentarily lets return to Geertz’s question “What Is a Culture if It Is Not a Consensus?” (2000:246) as it is pertinent to the construction of universals. An engaged universal, despite its ontological origin, can be of particular use when it is carefully deconstructed, without its deconstruction it too simply becomes a contrastive heuristic (Geertz 2000). In Friction Anna Tsing carefully analyzes the major universals at play as she records the friction of these global connections and balances this with her authority as an anthropologist at no point does she assume any kind of cultural homogeneity (2005; Wolf et al. 1994). Pierre Bourdieu (2003) offers anthropology a different method for dealing with this balancing act as he saw the task of being both being participant and observer as a nearly impossible act; his solution was “participant objectivation” (2003:281). He specifies that this is not to be taken to mean “the practice … [of] observing oneself observing” (2003:282) rather, “Participant objectivation undertakes to explore not the ‘lived experience’ of the knowing subject but the social conditions of possibility – and therefore the effects and limits – of that experience and more precisely, of the act of objectivation itself.” (2003:282). By forcing oneself to realize the relationship between the observer and their object of study he believed that anthropology as a whole could shed “anti-scientific subjectivism … [for] genuine scientific objectivity.” (2003:282). This is something that is can be achieved in autoethnography to varying degrees.
What autoethnography started as and what it is today are two very different research methods. The word itself was first used by Alfred Kroeber in 1947 when discussing the research, he undertook with Charley Nowell in his publications. In this way it was to be different from autobiography because it was more so about Nowell’s societal customs than it was a personal account of his life (Reed-Danahay 2019:4). In the 20th century however it would begin to change becoming closer to what it is today, this has been called narrative ethnography which was more an “observation of participation” style of writing and researching (Tedlock 1991:78). However this tends to bring the writer into the text as an actor and observer (Reed-Danahay 2019; Tedlock 1991). This style brings us back to Bourdieu’s concern, “How can one be both subject and object, the one who acts and the one who, as it were, watches himself acting?” (2003:281). His recommendation is for one to objectify themselves to better understand how they are positioned which is pertinent for doing anthropology today as autoethnography has expanded in genera but has not evolved like it did from Alfred Kroeber to Dennis Werner (Bourdieu 2003:283; Reed-Danahay 2019; Tedlock 1991:73).
This is not an easy task from the narrative ethnography methodological framework, as the researcher is becoming one with the research. Bourdieu’s concern comes to life in Christine Walley’s book Exit Zero: Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago (2013) as she and her family take center stage. While the book itself is incredibly well done, it lacks a key discussion on the American Dream when we consider again Geertz’s question “What Is a Culture if It Is Not a Consensus?” (2000:246). Unlike Tsing’s (2005) use of environmentalism, the American Dream is a universal applied throughout the whole book with one meaning, the origin of this universal is hardly discussed, and the possibility of different meanings is not considered (Walley 2013:89). Whereas Tsing discussed the varying understandings of environmentalism from the hegemonic perspectives of western science and John Muir, to perspectives held by people living in Indonesia, such as the Nature Lovers, and the Meratus Dayaks (Tsing 2005:pt. 2); Walley does not do this. Instead starting from the preface and continuing to the end of the book the American Dream is framed in one metaphor, a linear path up the American social ladder where she views deindustrialization as the removal of a key rung on said ladder (Walley 2013:xi). The American Dream she acknowledges has been used by both the political right and the political left when it was most beneficial to them, but unlike Tsing who actively discussed governmental policy in Indonesia throughout her book and particularly in chapter four with the politics of Nature Loving (2005:chap. 4). Walley does not name so much as an individual who constructed political rhetoric around the American Dream she merely generalizes that it happened and while what she alludes to did happen, how Americanness and thus the American Dream was constructed by those individuals which is crucial to how her grandparents would have experienced it is not mentioned (2013:23). For instance, ignoring the role of McCarthyism in damaging the reputation of unionized labor severely cripples the readers understanding of how Walley perceives the American Dream. Like other socially constructed ideas Walley’s understanding of the American Dream would have been informed by the experiences her family had with it, and without investigating the role of McCarthyism or the wider context of the Cold War the picture is incomplete. Because of these omissions what is left over is just “the ‘lived experience’ of the knowing subject” (Bourdieu 2003:282).
This is deeply problematic for a book discussing the social construction of being working class in the United States, and specifically in postindustrial Chicago. The only hint that Walley gives that there could be a different perception of the American Dream comes not when she is discussing what it may mean but how it is achieved. This difference of attainment follows the economic changes from the 20th century and the early 21st century, the expansion of higher education combined with the affects deindustrialization meant that the American Dream of her grandparents – centered on “economic upward mobility as a community” (Walley 2013:91) – no longer existed, instead, it is now individually attained where the workplace has been superseded by education (Walley 2013:91).  But this is only focused on how one achieves upward mobility which she defines as the American Dream, this does not consider alternative versions of it such as the idea of immigrating for a better life, sending money back home, or fleeing oppression. The implication being that in postindustrial Chicago anyone who meets the criteria of working-class longs to be middle class and that they are all discontented with their position in life. The notion of the American Dream is deeply tied to the experience of class in the United States of this there is no doubt, but one must wonder if the consensus in South East Chicago is that the American Dream means upward social mobility (Geertz 2000; Walley 2013).
Balancing methods and voice, while intensely researching that which is close to home makes the job of an anthropologist very difficult. While it may not have seemed to be a crucial detail, the lack of a discussion on the American Dream, does not do Christine Walley any favors. By being a character in her own research the universal she grew up knowing as the American Dream becomes one that is applied by her writing to postindustrial Chicago. While she paints a clear picture of how deindustrialization affected her and her family, assuming a consensus around the American Dream creates a rather wobbly walk down the tightrope (Walley 2013). In all fairness, it is not the case that any outsider, “hybrid anthropologist” (Narayan 1993), or insider would have been better prepared to write this book. Likewise, this criticism is not meant to imply that narrative ethnography is inherently flawed, it just needs to be done carefully as it continues to develop as a method before anthropology heads for Rhodes. Focusing on the “social conditions of possibility” (Bourdieu 2003:282) can at least help researchers who pursue a narrative ethnography framework to balance their (de)construction of universals with their method and voice and ultimately so they can recognize when they are standing on land or toxic fill (Walley 2013:127).

Bourdieu, Pierre 2003Participant Objectivation. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 9(2): 281–294.
Geertz, Clifford 2000The World in Pieces: Culture and Politics at the End of the Century. In Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics. Pp. 218–263. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Gupta, Akhil, and James Ferguson 1992Beyond “Culture”: Space , Identity , and the Politics of Difference. Cultural Anthropology 7(1): 6–23.
Marcus, George E. 2012Classic Fieldwork, Critique and Engaged Anthropology: Into the New Century. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 21(2): 35–42.
Narayan, K 1993How Native Is a ” Native ” Anthropologist ? American Anthropologist 95(3): 671–686.
Reed-Danahay, Deborah 2019Autoethnography. SAGE Research Methods Foundation. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Tedlock, Barbara 1991From Participant Observation to the Observation of Participation: The Emergence of Narrative Ethnography. Journal of Anthropological Research 47(1): 69–94.
Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt 2005Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Walley, Christine J. 2013Exit Zero: Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wolf, Eric R., Regna Darnell, Joel S. Kahn, William Roseberry, and Immanuel Wallerstein 1994Perilous Ideas: Race, Culture, People [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology 35(1): 1–12.


Ethnographic Research on the Consumer Behavior of the Irish Culture

Having experienced a stagnation in the economic growth between 1970s and 1980s, the Irish society witnessed a growth of its economy starting from late 1990s towards early 2000s (Sheehan, Berkery and Lichrou, 2017). The economic changes brought about a growth in employment rates leading to an increase in the gross domestic products. As a result, the Irish culture begun witnessing a positive shift in consumer expectations, optimism and confidence. There was increased consumer buying power and their general living standards, due to increased personal spending on consumption. Therefore, the economic changes witnessed in the Ireland starting from late 1990s contributed positively in raising and strengthening the aggregate demand and overall household consumption among the Irish people.

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Available information reveals that the Irish culture underwent a rapid transition of consumer behavior from scarcity to affluence between the nineteenth century and the twentieth century (Sheehan, Berkery and Lichrou, 2017). The transition in consumer behavior became evident when most of the Irish people started abandoning traditional consumption as their consumption rose steadily above subsistence level. People started obtaining goods and services through acquisition as opposed to the previous approach of household consumption while individuals started judging others based on their consumption styles and levels. That is, individuals started choosing services, products and activities that best define specific lifestyles which has been popularly identified as consumer culture.
Looking at the consumption behavior among the Irish people enables one to understand Irish as a consumer society.  The purchasing behavior of the Irish people is determined by quality, service and price (Sheehan, Berkery and Lichrou, 2017). The three purchasing determinants identified above have been found to vary by age of the consumers. For instance, the young population is mostly attracted to the brand and product awareness while the working-age population is interested in both brand and quality of the goods and services. On the other hand, the older population exhibit increased attraction towards high quality products. In spite of the recent recession as well as the Brexit standoff, Irish consumers have continued to exhibit distinguished consumption behavior (Sheehan, Berkery and Lichrou, 2017). Some consumers have begun to prefer discount stores while others prefer going to shops, making mobile payments as well as buying online. Therefore, this research paper aims to conduct an ethnographic study of the consumer behavior in the Irish culture.
Literature Review
Numerous researches have been done with the aim of investigating and understanding factors that determine consumers’ buying behavior. Available information from various research findings identified social, cultural, personal and psychological factors as key influencers of consumers’ buying behavior (Pate and Adams, 2013: Solomon, 2012). While looking at cultural factors, various scholars have defined culture as a set of basic beliefs, values, way of life, wants, perceptions and behavior acquired by either an individual or a group of individuals in a given society (Kotler et al., 2015). However, the influence of culture on one’s consumption behavior varies from one society to another based on specific factors such as religion, race, cultural environment and family. The social factors that have an impact on an individual’s consumption behavior include family, status, social roles and reference groups. Also, we have the psychological factors that influence consumption behavior. The psychological factors include perception, learning, beliefs and motivation. On the other hand, personal factors include variables like age, lifestyle, life-cycle stage, self-concept and personality (Rani, 2014).
Consumer Behavior
Various scholars have defined consumers and individuals who buy goods and services purposely for personal consumption. Although observation of consumers buying habits can enable one to understand their behavior, getting a clear understanding of the reasons that make them to behave in a certain way or why they certain products is not easy. Therefore, it is possible to study consumer behavior by looking at what they buy, how they buy and where they buy the goods and services. However, it is not easy to learn the reasons or whys of the consumer behavior. The main reason being that the answers to why consumers decide to buy certain products from a given retailer and at a given price lie in their minds (Kotler et al., 2015).
Therefore, the study of consumer behavior is a wide topic which requires thorough understanding of the processes undertaken by individuals and groups while selecting, purchasing and disposing ideas, services and products to satisfy their desires and needs. As a result, consumer behavior has been identified by Haghshenas, (2013) as a combination of sociology, psychology, anthropology as well as economics studies aimed at understanding the process by which consumers make buyer decisions whether individually or as a group.
Information from various studies reveal that consumers respond to various marketing strategies. The marketing strategies have been associated with the existence of ‘P’ stimuli including product, place, price and promotion. Also, availability of marketing forces in the purchasers’ environment have been found to influence consumers’ behavior. The forces include economic, cultural, technological and social factors. The factors were clearly summarized by Kotler et al., in the table below (2015).

Figure 1: Kotler’s Consumer Behavior Model (2012)
Factors affecting Consumer Behavior
Available research information reveal a number of factors that influence consumer behavior. The factors include cultural, personal, social and psychological influencers. Despite being informed of the factors that influence consumer behavior, marketers do not have direct control of the factors (Solomon, Russell-Bennett and Previte, 2012). Therefore, they should pay close attention to the factors whenever deciding about appropriate sells strategies of introducing products into the market. A summary of the four main factors influencing consumer behavior is captured in the figure below.

Figure 2: Factors that influence Consumer Behavior (Kotler et al., 2015)
Lifestyle factors have been described in various studies as patterns of living of an individual. The pattern of living comprises of activities, opinions and interests. Examples of activities that influence consumer behavior include hobbies, work, social events and shopping (Sellors, 2014). On the other hand, interests consist of family, leisure, fashion and food. Therefore, lifestyle presents consumption pattern that an individual observes while spending his or her money and time (Rani, 2014). Also, lifestyle has been described as a way by which an individual choses to allocate his or her income to specific alternatives in the category of goods and services (Sellors, 2014). That is, lifestyle encompasses specific patterns of consumer behavior resulting from individuals’ inner values. In addition, lifestyle has been used by various marketers when identifying consumer behavior in the market. The main reason being that every generation’s unique characteristics of consumer behavior can be comfortably associated with its preferred lifestyle.
Also, personal factors and social factors have been identified as being among the key determinants of consumer behavior. Personal factors that influence consumer behavior include personality concept (Pate and Adams, 2013). Personality has been identified as the unique traits of a person. Personality traits from the basis upon which an individual is differentiated from another. The traits include the approach by which a person makes buying decisions, opinions, interests and habits (Pape, Rau, Fahy and Davies, 2011). At times, individual buying decisions are informed by factors such as culture, age, gender, and personal issues. Also, one’s consumption behavior is influenced by social networks and groups, opinion leaders and family members.
Social networks and groups play a big role in influencing consumer behavior. Many consumer rely on information available on social media to make decisions on what to buy, when, where and at what price (Kotler et al., 2015). Consumers mostly look out for opinions and reviews made by other consumers about certain products and brands before purchasing them. Also, social media have become reliable platforms where consumers discuss and share ideas about various products and brands thereby influencing their buying behavior. For instance, the Trends magazine reveals that most of the young people not only rely on peer reviews before buying a product but also uses the shared information when determining product or service worthiness (Haghshenas et al., 2013). There is, also, research information which identifies social groups as another factor with the capability to influence consumer habits. Consumers can buy and use certain goods and services which are common among members of a given social with the sole purpose to fit in. Members of such social groups include family members, co-workers and friends. Others include members of professional groups, religious groups and clubs.
Opinion leaders form another factor which influence consumer behavior.  Some consumers look out for opinions from others concerning certain goods and services before they can decide to buy a given product. The information from opinion leaders serve various purposes of influencing consumers’ behavior (Goldsmith and Clark, 2008). For instance, some consumers will look out for information from opinion leaders with the aim of reducing time required to search a product at the same time gaining guidance on the image-related guidance of the new products.
Also, the study of the role of opinion leaders in determining consumer behavior has been studied using three fashion theories. The theories include downward, horizontal and upward flow theories (Bailey and Seock, 2013). The downward flow theory makes use of wealthy fashion leaders like celebrities and politicians who have access to different media. The theory states that fashion choices made by opinion leaders will mostly be accessible to many consumers and get influenced to replicate them. The horizontal flow theory observes that the prestige lifestyle of opinion leaders make them become leaders in their circles while the upward flow theory states that individuals of lower economic status whose fashion trends influence consumers of higher status in the society. Therefore, opinion leaders adopt a fashion trend ahead of the other consumers and inspire their followers to adopt the trend as well.
Study design
The study design of this research made use of evidence based researches while focusing on conducting a comparative assessment of the outcome against the interview data from two members of the Irish consumer group. The consent and protocol procedure was observed closely, despite having only two formal approvals from participants of the interview process since the research also relied on the evidence recorded in the secondary internet sources. However, the whole process of obtaining credible information for the research ensured that only statistically supported researches were consulted during the research process. Also references obtained from the selected studies were searched together with other relevant review articles online to get additional important citations.
Search method
The search method involved extensive literature search on electronic databases, and manual search as well. The electronic databases and sites searched during the study included Google scholar and SAGE journals. The search time started from the year of 2007 up to the year 2019. The language used during the search process was English. The terms searched during the study include consumer, consumption, consumer behavior, Irish culture, marketing strategies, consumer habits and Irish consumption market.  
The research paper and journal articles to be used during the study were carefully selected during the search process by reviewing their abstracts, citations as well as the full-text articles to determine content eligibility of all articles collected during the initial search. The relevance of the material was determined based on the preset inclusion and exclusion criteria as follows:
Inclusion criteria
Evidence based researches that provided description and analysis of consumer behavior, factors that affect consumer behavior and consumption behavior of the Irish culture were included in the study. The next inclusion criteria focused on research papers and articles as well as news articles published in English in the last eleven years about consumer behavior. The third inclusion criteria was specifically on the consumer behavior and factors that influence consumption behavior in the Irish culture. Inclusion criteria of individuals who participated in the interview process included people who had participated in a culturally-bound activity like ceremony, party or celebration; traditional food; sports or artistic event; shopping, house cleaning, and beauty ritual.
The exclusion criteria involved
All the studies whose content had nothing to do with consumer behavior were excluded from the study. Also, studies and news articles whose content was written in other languages other than English were excluded. Besides, studies published more than eleven years ago were excluded from the study. Individuals who had participated in activities that were not culturally-bound were excluded from interview process.
Extraction of data
The process of obtaining data from the selected studies was done independently using data extraction forms while information from the interview data was extracted by transcribing the interviews then using the transcriptions to create codes to categorize the collected information. Also, data from eligible studies was extracted on the basis of characteristics of the study population, and quality of the study as well as outcome measurement.
Determining the possibility of biasness and quality of the study sources
The risk of biasness was assessed by looking at random sequence generation, the possibility of incomplete outcome data, and selective funding that could compromise the independence of the study. Summaries of the data collected through interview was arrived at after transcribing the interviews and using the transcriptions to create codes to categorize the information collected.
There were two levels of outcome considered during the study. The two levels were the consumer behavior and factors that influence consumer behavior in Irish culture. The first outcome provided an explanation of various consumer behavior in the consumption market while the second level of outcome provided specific information about consumer behavior in the Irish culture. 
A total of 10 research articles were retrieved during the search process, whereby 7 research articles were identified via the Google scholar database search while the remaining 3 articles were identified following other searches such as the search of key terms on the internet and abstract analysis. To develop a list of credible studies and articles with relevant content that satisfies the study objective, the research process relied upon the inclusion and exclusion criteria to ensure that any article that fails to satisfy the set criteria was not included in the study. As a result, a total of 10 articles were selected as having relevant content and the ability to satisfy the set inclusion criteria. The following list presents the total articles that satisfied the inclusion criteria during the search process, as well as their content being relevant with regard to the study objective.
Table 1: Summary of research Articles considered in the study

Author (Year)


Level one

Level two

Bailey and Seock, (2013)

Relationship between fashion leadership, magazine and consumer behavior


Goldsmith and Clark, (2008)

Impacts of fashion opinion leadership on consumer behavior


Haghshenas, (2013)

Factors affecting consumer behavior


Kotler et al., (2015)

Consumer behavior


Pate and Adams, (2013)

Impacts of social networking on consumer behavior.


Pape, Rau, Fahy and Davies, (2011)


Experience of Irish consumer behavior

Rani, (2014)

Factors that affect consumer behavior


Sellors, (2014)

Impact of social media on consumer behavior


Sheehan, Berkery and Lichrou, (2017)


Consumer behavior of Irish society

Solomon, Russell-Bennett and Previte, (2012)

Consumer behavior


The results above shows that a total of ten articles were considered during the study. Out of the ten articles, eight contained relevant information about consumer behavior while two articles provided specific information about consumer behavior of the Irish culture. Also, it is clear from the table that only articles published not more than 11years were ago were considered in the study.
This chapter provides an analysis and discussion of primary information obtained from the interview process as well as the secondary data accessed via the internet search of various articles about consumer behavior. There were two participants in the interview process, each of them being of opposite gender as shown in the next pie chart.

Figure 3: Chart representing gender of interview participants in percentage
Analysis of information contained in most articles provided interesting insights into consumer behavior that characterize the Irish culture. The behavior were categorized into four main groups of factors of social, personal, psychological and cultural. The impacts of the four factors on consumer behavior were then analyzed by looking at the contribution of lifestyle, opinion leaders and social networks on the consumer behavior in the Irish culture. For instance, the information obtained from the interview process revealed that participants had social media accounts and used them to share and exchange information with other users concerning fashion trends and brand quality. The social media platforms used by the participants include Facebook, twitter, Instagram, snapchat.
Concerning personality and lifestyle, most consumers in Irish culture have access to social platforms and use them to research and review products before deciding where and when to buy good and at what price. Also, personality influenced consumers’ behavior when deciding to try new brands of products. In addition, personal factors like economic situation and occupation determined consumers’ ability to make actual purchase of preferred products. Information obtained from the research revealed that social factors played a big role in influencing consumer behavior in the Irish culture, as most of the consumers were inspired by the choices of their leaders. Psychological factors of learning, influence, belief, and motivation influenced personal consumer behavior either for or against buying a given product. A summary of the analysis is captured in the figure below.
Figure 4: Bar graph representing a summary of Consumer behavior
The research relied heavily on the information presented in previous researches. Also, a sample of two participants for the interview is very small and their response might not be representative of the actual consumer behavior of the Irish culture.
Future research should rely more on primary data collected from a large sample representative of the Irish consumer culture. Also, the study should focus more on consumer behavior among the youths as they not only represent the present and future consumers but also they are the future opinion leaders who will impact on future consumption behavior.
The information obtained from the study identify various consumer behavior as well as factors that influence consumer behavior in Irish culture. Since understanding the reasons as to why consumer exhibit certain behavior when purchasing goods and services is a complex affair, marketers need to understand the factors that define consumer environment such as social, cultural, psychological and personal factors to be able to introduce products that captures the interests of consumers. The main reason being that the factors define consumer behavior which must be addressed by marketers so as to increaser inspire consumers to buy goods and services introduced in the market. Therefore, appropriate marketing strategies should seek to address psychological, social, personal and cultural factors that define consumer behavior in Irish culture.
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Appendix 1: Transcribed interviewee responses

Transcribed interview (Interview responses to the questions)

Codes (consumer behavior)

Situations and life experiences influence the decision and choice to buy a trendy product.

Cultural factor and social factor

Shared values in the community influences the preferred products among the members. Also, interactions on sharing of information on social platforms determines the level of trust that one develops in a new brand of products.

Children learn and emulate their parents and other family members in selecting goods and services to buy

Choice of the products is influenced by age, gender, personality, lifestyle and self-concept

Personal factor

Occupation as well as economic factors determines one’s buying ability

Individual perception, beliefs and attitude influence the choice of goods and services purchased.

Psychological factor

Individual motivation and learning informs the decision to buy a given product.

Appendix 2: Logs of dress codes during a birthday party attended by interviewees
Birthday party: ladies were to wear elegant dress with killer pairs of daintier heels to the party. On the other hand, put on a well-fitted dark suit, a white shirt and a dark tie.
Both men and women put on bold jewelry while girls wore jacquard skirts and bib necklaces to impress.