Ethnographic Research with Other Community Members

I found during most interviews, the men were not present. The community consists mostly of  farmers and the men were generally out in the field when we would conduct interviews. In some cases, other men or women would be present during the surveys (which was always noted in our records). We found that men were active in answering the questions, and in some cases, active in child care decisions. We wanted to understand who was primarily responsible for care of children and what shared understandings among community members existed with respect to health. We asked the mothers if their understanding of health practices was shared by other members of the household, but we were also able to obtain information from conversations with other caregivers. There seemed to be a lot of continuity within each household.

In some cases, we spoke to two women at the same time. This was also noted in the record. By speaking with two women, we were able to create a better dialogue within the community, where the women could speak with each other about health practices in their homes. In most cases, messages about health and hygiene came from school, radio announcements and other media and church.

After some of these situations, we became interested in learning more about autonomy over the childcare process. Questions about autonomy were added later in the interviewing process. We aimed to understand what responsibilities and decisions were shared between parents. We found most women felt autonomous over decisions for the care of their children. Men often shared responsibilities, like cooking for the family, but were not the sole decision makers.



  1. These are interesting observations. I like how you were able to add additional questions about autonomy after your initial findings.

  2. The questions definitely helped to elucidate women’s roles in childcare.