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Borders And Boundaries: Barnes & Noble (Research Paper Sample)


Assignment, step-by-step

1.Re-read the lecture slides on borders and boundaries, as well as the relevant materialin the territoriality and space lectures.

2. Read “Fieldnotes in Ethnographic Research” and “In the Field: Participating,Observing, and Jotting Notes” by Emerson, Fretz and Shaw.

3. Choose a border and/or boundary location on campus, or in the immediate campusarea. Visit that location twice and create two sets of typed fieldnotes on the flows andblockages that constitute your selected border and/or boundary location. Use theEmerson et al reading to structure your fieldnotes.

4. Write a critical analysis of your chosen research location. Use what you have learnedin class to inform your translation of your chosen site into a written representation.

Assignment, details

You may write your border/boundary analysis in any written form: an essay, a short story, aletter, a screen play, a graphic novel exercise, a poem, etc. Whatever the format, you mustclearly and plainly explain how you interpret your chosen research location using yourhuman geography knowledge, and specifically what you have learned in this class aboutborders and boundaries.

You do not need to cite lecture material from the class slides, but please provide direct pagecitations to material taken from any of the class readings. You must also cite any othersources you are using. See the citation rules document on Carmen.

You must submit your fieldnotes, typed up. Your fieldnotes will not count towards thepage limit for the paper. Students will hand in 3-4 pages of comprehensive fieldnotes,double-spaced.

I very strongly encourage you to work in teams. For each member of the team, you mustproduce three pages of written analysis, i.e. I am expecting six pages of write up from twomember teams, nine pages of write-up from three member teams, and so on.


• Get some experience taking fieldnotes.

• Apply theoretical concepts to your everyday life.

• Show that you understand the complexity of your chosen border/boundary location.

• Show that you have a clear grasp of key human geography concepts.


You will be evaluated for your ability to elucidate and apply the class concepts of bordersand/or boundaries through analysis of a specific site. In particular, I will be looking for a)your ability to provide an understanding of the complexity of your chosen site, b)effective and well-communicated use of human geography concepts, and c) goodwriting and composition skills. See the detailed grading rubric on Carmen for an explicitlist of the things I’m looking for.


The fieldwork you are doing is not covered by the Ohio State Institutional Review Board’srules governing research on “human subjects”. As a result, you may not interviewindividuals in your border and/or boundary location. Your fieldwork data will consistsolely of your written fieldnotes.

If you want to use illustrations, such as maps (Google, hand-drawn, etc) or photos or sitesketches, please do so. Illustrations will not count toward your total page requirement.


Borders and Boundaries
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Student's Name
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Date Submitted
I. Introduction
This paper aims to report on the process of a reflective practitioner and a participant observer. This report contains (1) an observation overview, (2) the objective of the observation, (3) the situation and site of the observation, (4) two sets of reflective field notes from the observation, and (5) an evaluation of the (observation) experience.
II. Overview and Purpose
The original purpose/plan of this paper is a phenomenological or inquiry-based approach. I decided to observe Barnes & Noble, with no preconceived beliefs and questions. I supposed that majority of the clientele that I would observe shopping there would be wealthier or middle-class. I wanted to know what groups of individuals visit Barnes &Noble, but ultimately, I wanted to learn about the observation process. This was an amazing luxury because the exploratory approach enabled me to concentrate on the observation through applying all my senses. To successfully complete this observation, I had to carry out research in two distinct activities which as stated by Emerson et al. are: entering into an unfamiliar social setting and jotting and taking field notes (Emerson et al., 2011).
III. Situation and Site
The observation occurred at Barnes & Noble from 10:00 until 12:00, a total length of four hours. The hours 10:00 to 12:00 were chosen since the store opens at 10:00 and I saw this as an excellent time to start an observation reason being, the bookstore/library would be empty thus giving me sufficient time to select an appropriate location for my observation. It further gave me time to purchase a Costa Coffee and set up my laptop; this made me blend into the environment.
This chosen Barnes & Noble was a single floor store. It had a Costa Coffee Shop in it along with music and children's sections. It had many separated areas for patrons to sit and/or read books (such as chairs, bean bags, padded armchairs, et cetera).
IV. Reflective Field Notes
Earlier, I asserted that I had a presumption that a majority of the Barnes & Noble patrons would be wealthier or middle-class; this is supported by my reflective field note.
1st Reflective Field

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