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THICK DESCRIPTION

Updated: Nov 21, 2018



I read through and posted on this blog my thoughts, observations and feelings that were jotted down on site, in doing so I noted the poetic and intense descriptive words that I had recorded to try and capture the sincere emotion that I experienced whilst on the Norfolk coastline.


By sharing my words to tutors, it came to my knowledge that what I had in fact been producing can be described as a thick description which is an auto ethnographic theory. Perfect for my research module!


In reading a Sage Publication defining the term, I found myself nodding in agreement and recognition that my thought process is an example of the term which was first introduced into qualitative research literature in the early 1970's by anthropologist Clifford Geertz.


Thick description is explained by Geertz as an attempt to make sense of our surroundings and try to grasp and convey our interactions and thought processes. Thick description allows one to 'achieve a level of insight into the nuances and complexities of human actions'. (Dawson, 2012, p. 2)


Dawson states that the narrative element and concept of story commonly present in thick descriptive writing is paramount.


Reading around the subject of thick description will allow me to develop a greater understanding of the theory and develop my own written practice. I have found that rereading the snippets of descriptive information that I noted down whilst in Norfolk has allowed me to retain glimpses of the sensations and feelings which would usually have passed by soon after the encounter.


References


Dawson, J. (2012) Thick Description. Thousand Oaks, SAGE Publications, Inc. (Accessed: 9 November 2018)


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