Summary: This video clip tells the story of a curious Brooklynite who finds an undeveloped roll of film in the snow. After developing the film and in an effort to find its owners, the guy creates this YouTube video, narrating his own story about finding the film, but also speculating about the story behind the film's photographed subjects. This clip would be useful in a methods course, as it depicts the ways in which we often stumble—quite literally—upon our research questions. The video’s storyline is framed as a puzzle to be solved, with “hints” documented in the social landscape (e.g., based on the photographs, the narrator hypothesizes who the people are, where and when they traveled in New York). The video would work particularly well in an ethnographic or qualitative methods course, where instructors can raise interesting questions about the role of the researcher (and how this particular investigator documents himself as an integral part of the research project), as well as questions around the methodological significance of found objects and the information they can tell us about the people who left them behind. Instructors might also lead a discussion around the intersection of digital technology and social scientific methodology, and the way technology can facilitate (and create) social networks. Finally, in the comments below the video, someone suggests the clip is fake, which can invite a conversation around how ethnographers determine whether to believe their sources, and whether "untrue" data is still valuable. For example, what might a fake YouTube video about a lost roll of film and a mission to find its owners reveal about contemporary life in modern society?
I would like to thank Audrey Sprenger for suggesting this clip.
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp