On Learning How to Ask, See and Feel


  • Eric Hoenes del Pinal University of North Carolina, Charlotte



data, ethnography, interviews, video recording, embodiment, anthropology


Ethnographic research involves coming to know a society’s culture and religion in several different ways both quantitative and qualitative. Interviewing, field recordings, systematic observation and the researcher’s own (inter-)subjective experiences are some of the most common methods of ethnographic data collection, but integrating these multiple methods is no mean task. Every method presents unique possibilities and problems for answering our research questions. A method that at first seems to be revealing can end up having limited applicability; and conversely, others that may at first blush seem shallow can end up leading to significant insights. This article argues for the necessity of critically assessing how data is produced and suggests that data emerges when the researcher learns how to view their experiences and observations in new ways.


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Author Biography

Eric Hoenes del Pinal, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Eric Hoenes del Pinal is assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is the author of Guarded by Two Jaguars: A Catholic Parish Divided by Language and Faith (University of Arizona Press, 2022) and co-editor of Mediating Catholicism: Religion and Media in Global Catholic Imaginaries (Bloomsbury, 2022). He has also published in Anthropological Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary Religion and Exchange: Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context.


Benjamin, Walter 2015 A Small History of Photography (1931). In On Photography, edited and translated by Esther Leslie, 59–108. London: Reaktion Books.

Briggs, Charles L. 1986 Learning How to Ask: A Sociolinguistic Appraisal of the Role of the Interview in Social Science Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Further Reading

Birdwhistell, Ray L. 1970 Kinesics and Context: Essays on Body Motion Communication. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Goffman, Erving (transcribed and edited by Lyn H. Lofland) 1989 On Fieldwork. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 18(2): 123–32.

Marion, Jonathan S., and Jerome W. Crowder 2013 Visual Research: A Concise Introduction to Thinking Visually. London and New York: Bloomsbury.

Nabhan-Warren, Kristy 2011 Embodied Research and Writing: A Case for Phenomenologically Oriented Religious Studies Ethnographies. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 79(2): 378–407.

Norris, Sigrid 2004 Analyzing Multimodal Interaction: A Methodological Framework. New York: Routledge.




How to Cite

Hoenes del Pinal, E. (2022). Data: On Learning How to Ask, See and Feel. Fieldwork in Religion, 17(1), 37–46.

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