Ethnographic Research

As I was still unsure of what specific area I wanted to focus on for my project I thought I would start my ethnographic research at the train station. I decided on this because I didn’t know where else to start but I knew I wanted to base it around transport and I regularly use trains so its something I have a basic knowledge about also I can research whilst I’m often travelling.

I began by thinking about my last train journey which was travelling back to Cardiff after Christmas and what was happening on this journey. I travelled on the 12/01/14 between 17:00 and 21:00 which seemed to consist of what looked like students with a fair amount of luggage, probably travelling back to university after a weekend away. Also business workers travelling Sunday night for Monday morning to work. I had a casual chat with one passenger about his work and says he travels this way often.

Whilst travelling by train on the 17/01/14 between 11:30 and 13:30 I observed casual clothed users going out of Cardiff Central train station, mostly having luggage with them. Whilst the users on the trains coming into the station were smartly clothed commuters, probably coming into the city for business/meetings. The majority of users were between student and middle age.

Whilst travelling back on the 19/01/14 between 19:30 and 21:00 on what should have been a quiet time on a Sunday turned out to be rather busy. Sports fans were travelling back from games adding to usual passenger numbers that are returning back from weekends away.

From the little observation I did, I came to the conclusions that trains and stations are at their busiest between 06:00 – 09:00 and 17:00 – 19:00 which is common sense as these are busy commuting and rush hour times. As well as this most users are either: using a piece of technology (phone, tablet, laptop etc…), are eating or undertaking some other activity. Also that travel changes can change suddenly often without notice because of problems or major events, because of this a solution would need to be able to adapt immediately to this.

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