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ERIC Number: ED354881
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Thick Descriptions: A Language for Articulating Ethnographic Media Technology.
Goldman-Segall, Ricki
"Thick descriptions" are descriptions that are layered enough to draw conclusions and uncover the intentions of a given act, event, or process. In a video environment, thick descriptions are images, gestures, or sequences that convey meaning. Neither the quantity nor the resolution of the images makes the descriptions thick. Thickness is created by the ability of the visual description to transmit what is really being 'said.' In a video or videodisc environment, thick descriptions provide a way to articulate the meaning of what is seen and help come to terms with one of the problems of observational research, the fact that it tends to resist any kind of systematic evaluation and, like all interpretive approaches, it is "imprisoned in its own immediacy or detail." The phrase, coined by Gilbert Ryle, has been explored by Clifford Geertz in interpretive studies of culture. In ethnographic filmmaking, thick descriptions result not only from what has been recorded and edited, but from what has not been selected. In ethnography, the task of building a theoretical framework is to make thick descriptions possible in order to generalize within the particular event. Thick descriptions could be integrated within interactive hypermedia. The challenge would be to create an environment in which the integrity of the data is intact, the interpretation of the creators of the media is kept within bounds, and the user executes a certain degree of discretion in the use of the tool. (Contains 19 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A