Home » Uncategorized » On the role of intuition (revised!), judgment, ethnography and other forms of field research

On the role of intuition (revised!), judgment, ethnography and other forms of field research

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This is a blog post riffing off of the Brain Pickings, a site that, lamentably, I just recently discovered, and a particular article (link here: The Art of Observation and How to Master the Crucial Difference Between Observation and Intuition | Brain Pickings ) that I read last night while sitting delayed at Newark Airport waiting to get on a plane and fly across the Pond. Wonderful stuff, particularly when a long flight delay requires a diversion for my overactive brain.

So here’s a share that’s all about the science and art of intuition and (to me consequently!) fieldwork of the ethnographic variety. I really believe that without trained observation and a bit of intuition, there is no way to do fieldwork that has a point. That point needs to be, what is it that ethnographic research can help illuminate that other types of qualitative research can’t? I’m giving a paper this coming Saturday where one of my main concerns is what ethnomusicologists can co tribute to the study of popular music that is not, or cannot, be done by other new media, popular music, or sociological researchers.

As per usual, I will be revising my paper as long as possible. (Some things, I think, will *never* change!) I have been thinking about this question which got into my abstract somehow (I know. WHAT was I thinking!) a lot over the past few weeks and I suspect my answer will somehow boil down to two points – context and enough imaginative visualization that other people can make use of what we find in a practical way. More clearly, it’s one thing to have statistics on how common using crowd funding has become over the past 3-4 years. It’s a completely different matter to demonstrate how working pop musicians are incorporating the technologies of social media as working business entrepreneurs.

The change in mindset is pretty daunting but I think this is the ultimate implication of both why we are spending so much time, collectively, talking about this and why we understand at an intuitive level that this is important.So this was going to be just me doing the unusual move of posting a link to someone else’s blog, but it’s both, IMHO both interesting enough and important enough to get an explanation.Cheers and wish me some solid sleep on the plane. And if you’re interested, look for my abstract and paper for ICTM-Ireland and BFE on 6th April.


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