Mid Term

During site visits to Haaga, many businesses owned and ran by foreigners were observed. The diversity of shops and foreign ownership is not representative of the demographic profile of Haaga, which is primarily ethnic Finns, with 89% of the population speaking Finnish as domestic language (Service Map 2018). Therefore, how so many foreign owners came to be in Haaga and motivations for opening businesses within the suburb, were of particular interest.



Experimental ethnographic session is to research immigrant small business owners in Haaga.
I aim to find out the owners’ motivations for opening the small business in Haaga and whether they feel part of the community in the suburb. The research will seek to identify challenges and barriers immigrant businesses owners face in the case study of Haaga, to see if they are consistent with wider academic literature. It will also look at the reasons business owners chose to stay in Haaga and explore the connections between the business and their place within the wider suburb.


Interviews- One on one interviews conducted with the owners of the businesses. The interviews would be semi
structured, with a list of prepared open and closed questions. However, it would be hoped that interviews are
relaxed, flowing conversations with open ended questions used more like ‘prompts’. I would have to be alert and
quick thinking to alter questions and steer the interview in the direction of the research interest without appearing
rude. Each interview would be allocated 45mins. I believe this is the amount of time people can fully
concentrate on a task without a break. Including the introductions, explanation, conclusions and goodbye, I aim to
take less than an hour of the small businesses owners time as they’re probably time poor. Interviews would be
longer if interpreters were required and if interviewee is talkative and willing to provide further information.
Interviews of the small business owners would include general themes related to immigrant entrepreneurship such
as reason for immigration, previous employment and motivations and challenges for starting and running a business
in Haaga. Participants were also asked questions about the feeling of place in Haaga, changes they have noticed in
their business over time and future aspirations.

A sample of some questions would be-
 How did you come to own the store?
 Who did you take over the store from?
 Did you have the same profession before opening the store in Haaga?
 What was your motivation for opening the store?
 Was it difficult to open the store? (did you need to take any loans etc.)
 Do you live in Haaga?
 Why is the store located in Haaga?
 What do you think of Haaga? What are your favourite/least favourite things?
 Do you have any interaction with the other shop owners nearby?
 Do you feel part of the community in Haaga?
 Who is your usual clientele?
 Has your clientele changes over time?
 Do you enjoy running the store? Why/why not
 What are the main difficulties running a business in Haaga?
 Does something hold your store to this location/ If you could relocate your store anywhere else where
would it be?
 What are your plans for the future?

This methodology is an example of snapshot ethnography, in which interview presented and analysed is not a single generalisation of the wider population but intended to give honest insight of what was seen, topics discussed and what study participants perceived as true and relevant at that moment in time. (Sharkey and Shields, 2008 and Hougaard and Oakley, 2008). The reflexive nature of ethnographic research should also be acknowledged, data produced is always a production of spoken word, observation and the interpretation of the researcher.

Ideas to document the research-

Interviews would be recorded using a sound recording device. Notes would be made throughout the interview on actions or subtleties that are not capture with sound. Notes and reflections would be made immediately after the interviews. This would include a self- reflection of any feelings, emotions or interpretations of the overall interview.
The field work would be documented as a short quantitative research article with basic headings such as:
Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion and Conclusions.

The article would identify the experience of migrantsmall businesses owners, group like themes, make subjective argument about why and how migrants open smallbusiness in Haaga. The article would create an understanding by telling stories of the business owners, give them avoice. Key principles Categorical Content Analysis were used to break down and interpret the data gathered from interviews. Interviews would be listening to and transcribed the recordings and reading through the notes made during the interviews. Content will then be arranged by identifying key topics, connections, commonalities and differences(Saija, Katila and Laihonen, no date). Irrelevant data would be removed and remaining data conceptualized by systematic coding. The outcome being a coherent data entity in which themes could be categorized and patterns could be further broken down for analysis. Recurring themes would then be grouped together and presented for final analysis.

A short literature review of relevant articles would also be undertaken and form part of introduction and discussion
sections of the quantitative article. The motivations and challenges faced by ethnic small business owners in Haaga
and observations made would then be compared and analysed in association with existing relevant literature.

Ethical Considerations-

Participation in research should be voluntary and based on consent and participants have the right to
withdraw from a study at any stage. Business owners who agreed to take part in an interview will be given Plain
Language Statement which detailed the purpose of the research, interview method, researcher’s contact details and
that the research would be published. Participants will also be informed on how the research data
would be used, stored and eventually disposed of. Participants will be told that interviews will be recorded, and the
researcher made notes throughout the interviews. Also, how and when observations will occur.

Verbal consent was given by each participant, which was captured on the recording device. Care would also be
taken to ensure the study does not have any social or financial implications on the businesses. This would be done
by not mentioning any business names and key topics would be grouped together without the need to point out any
one business or owner. Business owners and business names would remain anonymous within the research, owners
would be referred to as: ‘Business Owner One’ and if necessary restaurants would be described briefly such as:
‘Chinese Restaurant’. Such methodology meets standards outlined by the Finnish National Advisory Board on
Research Ethics: Ethical Principles of Research in the Humanities and Social and Behavioural Science (National
Advisory Board on Research Ethics, 2009).


Hougaard, A. and Oakley, T. (2008) ‘Introduction: Mental Spaces and Discourse Analysis’, Mental Spaces in Discourse and Interaction, pp. 147–177. doi: 10.1075/pbns.170.01hou.
National Advisory Board on Research Ethics (2009) Ethical principles of research in the humanities and social and behavioural sciences and proposals for ethical review National Advisory Board on Research Ethics. Available at: https://www.tenk.fi/sites/tenk.fi/files/ethicalprinciples.pdf (Accessed: 9 December 2018).
Saija, Katila and Laihonen, M. (no date) ‘Ethnography & Action Research’, in Doing Qualitative Research. Aalto University School of Economics.
Sharkey, A. and Shields, R. (2008) ‘Abject citizenship – rethinking exclusion and inclusion: Participation, criminality and community at a small town youth centre’, Children’s Geographies, 6(3), pp. 239–256. doi: 10.1080/14733280802183973.
The Service Map 2018, Information Technology And Communications Division, City Of Helsinki. Available Online At: Https://Servicemap.Hel.Fi.

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