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  • Ethnographic Research

  • 32


    IntroductionTHE OUTLINE page 4

    Research MethodologiesQualitative page 6

    Quantitative page 6

    Focussed Topic page


    Findings page 7

    FamilyLife page 8

    Children page 8

    Work LifeFriends page 10

    Skills page 10

    ReligionReligion page 12

    Personal LifeHobbies page 14

    Yoga page 14

    Art Class page 14

    Council page 14

    Home page 14

    What makes Sandra tick? page 15

  • 54

    IntroductionThis report is based on my mum, Sandra.




    Mum of three: two daughters and one son.

    Aged 58.

    Strong faith in Hinduism.

    Fully Sri Lankan, Tamil.

    Fluent in Tamil and ok at English.

    Originated: born in Sri Lanka, Mulai.

    Through negative past experiences, Sandra lives each day as a struggle but embraces what she has and has hope for the future. Nothing but positive thoughts.

    I have been observing her extensively for 4 months and have gained data on the way she thinks, acts to situations, speaks, listens, the way she eats, and many more things: focussing on what makes her who she is.

    There is a reason to why my Mum is the person whosheis.Livinginaspecificarea,havingfaithin a religion, culture, teachings from family and friends and religion, the place she grew up in,

    thesocialside:definingwhoyouare.Butitisabout understanding why.

    I will be reporting and highlighting the reason to why my mum is the person who she is by using qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

  • 76

    Research MethodologiesByexploringQualitativeandQuantitativemethods,Iwillbeabletogatherenoughinformation in order to understand the subject further.


    - Photos

    - Pieces of art work that Sandra has made.

    - Diary.

    - Face to face interviews.

    - Observing daily routines.

    - Participating with the subject. i.e. Cooking and cleaning with her.

    - Noting down observations that the subject makes.

    - Reactions.


    - Creating Agendas and Minutes to record Interviews/Meetings with the



    - Taking notes on their answers to polls.

    - Interpreting data collected from audio tracks and scripting it.

    - Measurements of quantity of food eating a day and material using a day.

    - Piloting.

    Focussed Topic

    During the 37 minute interview with Sandra, I focussed on her life in Sri Lanka as I felt that by doing this: I will be able to understand how Sandra built herself up and came to be the person who she is today.

    I asked about activities within school and out of school- as this is reflectingonsocialclass,Imanagedtounderstandthepositionthat she had within the school and outside life.

    Theinterviewwasfilledwithpositivepointsandmanycommentsrelating to her dad which tells me that she is quite sentimental.

    I asked her if she is Interested in politics, she replied with My parents are 110% politicians, I dont like it though. They are fake.

    Shealsomentionedhertrophiesandhowshecamefirstinallathletic events and was top in the class academically. She did notmentionaboutpressureonbeingfirstintheclass.


    Sandra was a wealthy upper class person who had servants. Theupbringingofthathowever,hasnothadanaffectonwho she is today. I would assume that she would be greedy and arrogant, but instead she is the opposite. This shows the relationship that she must have had with the lower class servants. Sandra then went on to say that her dad spent time with lower class people, with anyone. This attitude that he has shown Sandra has grown on her. It is almost as if her dad was a role model to her.

    Sandra has an open mind, not liking politics due to the system being corrupted (in her eyes) and no one being able to execute what they promise. This conveys the message that she is afraid of war, afraid of negative ugly materials and actions that take people in life.

    Hercommentonbeingfirstintheclassalsoimpliesthattheremay have been social pressure as well as pressure from her family pushing her to do well.

  • 98

    FamilyLifeFamily is key to Sandras life. It has become clear that all of her ideologies, belies and important experiences have all been initiated from family. Bothimmediateandown.

    She got an arrange marriage at the age of 28 and married my dad who is a few years older. Me: Do you regret marrying dad? Sandra: No, everything happens for a reason and I have my children. It is an experience

    Her mum and dad have had possible the biggest impact on her life excluding her own family. They have taught her their beliefs and so she has been brought up living her every day life as if she were in her parents shoes.

    SANDRA: At a young age my parents passed away so I had to carry on being happy..

    Through the body language displayed as Sandra told me that, I could see that her tone of voice change and body language started to get nervous.

    ChildrenChildren have been the biggest impact on Sandras life. The use of language that she uses isreflectiveonherchildrensslanglanguage.

    Through spending time with her and her son, I have been able to consider Sandras happiness


    ThemummysboymakesSandraadifferentperson, one who is free from the stress and terror in the world. One who seems to be able to act more or so like a child rather than an adult.

    Whilst her son is at university living away, I can seeaslightdifferenceinbehaviour.Asenseofloneliness and so turns to her daughter, me, for comfort and fun. Even when her children are angry with her, she still seems to love them.

    I want my children to have a healthy and peaceful life. I want the world got to be

    one. One nation and one religion.

    This observation shows how important her parents were to her and that she must miss them.

  • 1110

    Work LifeWorking at Royal Marsden Hospital for 8 years running, Sandra has built herself up through the friendships made and skills learnt from work.

    Through watching Sandra for a few months, I have noticed that she has very good hygiene. She ensures to wash her hands before cooking and eating, she also knows how to cook. To have clean hygiene, be tidy and a neat person,workhasdefinitelyencouragedthis behaviour.


    Nicole: Say Hi to your mum for me, shes really nice. Hope shes well At work Sandra is surrounded by people who respect her and cares about her. Asking me how she is whenever they see me.

    Positive acts like this makes Sandra happy as she cares about the people around her. This must be a trait that has derived from her parents and their teachings. Sandra has shown great charisma as she smiles when the people around her are smiling. This is important because it shows that she doesnt not let things get to her; she enjoysbeinghappyandfightingforthathappiness.


    I have noticed that Sandra is fast at her job, she is quick and clean. She is always asked by colleagues to clean because she is able to clean the best. This is suggesting that she is a hard worker but also kind at heart if she is

    willing to help others out when they need help.

    I also see a link between how she is at work and how she is at home. I can see that her religious beliefs and teachings have taught her how to respect the people around her.

    Whensheisonherownshefindsiteasier to cope with other members of staffasshetriesherbesttodoherbest at the job. Through these actions, I can see that she is not reliant on others and likes to be independent and show everyone the potential she has.

    Me: What do you think about your work colleagues?

    Sandra: They treat me as if I were one of their family


  • 1312


    I am independent because my mum and dad both brought me up with their teachings.. Sandra attends the temple on festival days and new years.

    She ensures to not eat meat on those days as it is disrespectful to eat meat before going to the temple.

    I asked her what Religion means to her and she said that Religion has structured her life both in Sri Lanka and in the UK. Butshedoesnotfocusonreligion.Ican see that religion has helped shape sandras life in a positive light. From this response, I can understand that Sandra does not rely on religion and her faith to help her get through life. She is already brought up by her parents who have taught her to have a strong mentality.

    The patterns that I can see coming from her actions in her daily life, I can see that religion has helped her make the decisions that she makes. Through the teachings of her parents, Sandra has passed on their teachings onto her own children and brought them up in a similar

    way to how she was brought up: to have a strong mind.

    It is clear that if it wasnt for her parents teachings and faith, Sandra wouldnt be the fragile person who she is today.

    Each year she goes to a temple in wales, as she told me about why she goes, I could see that she was pondering. It didnt seem as if she was too sure about why goes; her body language was portraying a fragile, unsure mind. She then went on to tell me that she enjoyed the animals and peace that you get over there. I can see that perhaps faith isnt concentrated on that much but the strength that she gets from the people around her.

    As Sandra does not completely follow

    religion, she has not stereotypically been put into a social group. She is able to make her own decisions instead of using religion