EthnographicResearch Philosophical Ethnography Cara Adams Analyzing an Essay By Michael Genzuk entitled: “Synthesis of Ethnographic Research” (Photo taken from USC Rossier School of Education Faculty Listing)
Definition of Terms Ethnography: • “As a method, ethnography refers to fieldwork. • Literally means “portrait of a people”. • Is the art and science of describing a group or a culture.” (Genzuk,1). Philosophy: Oxford English Dictionary defines philosophy as: • “The use of reason and argument in seeking truth and knowledge of reality, esp. of the causes and nature of things and the principles of governing existence.” Together: • Philosophical Ethnography is the study of ethnographic definition while addressing philosophical truths and theoretical underpinnings.
MethodologicalPrinciples • Naturalism: “Social Scientists have to be able to capture natural occurring human behavior. • Understanding: There is no such thing as humans having fixed responses 100% of the time. • Discovery: Theoretical ideas that frame descriptions and explanations over what is being observed are developed over the course of the research” (Genzuk, 4-5)
Guidelines for Fieldwork and Interviewing Fieldwork: • “Be descriptive in taking field notes. • Get a variety of information from a variety of perspectives. • Use many different kinds of methods (observations, interviews, program documentation, recordings, and photographs).” (Genzuk, 6-7). Interviewing: • “Your aim is to achieve situational responses and sensitivity to get the best data possible.” (Genzuk, 7-9).
Ethics and Validity • “Ethics • Analyzing, interpreting, and reporting findings. • Qualitative description. • Reporting findings. • Balance between description and analysis.” (Genzuk, 10-13). There is a need to be concerned about a study‘s truthfulness and validity, while looking or the truth and knowledge in selected groups or cultures. It can be done. Not easily, but it can be done.