Ethnography. Emillia Masaka & Allyson O’Brien. What is Ethnography?. From the Greet root words: Ethnos “folk, people” Grapho “to write”
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EmilliaMasaka & Allyson O’Brien
Ethnos “folk, people”
Grapho “to write”
“Ethnography involves direct engagement with the participants and environments to obtain an in-depth description and interpretation of behavior within a culture or social group”
(McMillan & Wergin, 2010, p. 7).
“Ethnography is both a product –the book which tells a story about a group of people-and a process-the method of inquiry which leads to the production of the book”
(LeCompte & Preissle, 1993, p. 1).
“Ethnographies are documents that pose questions at the margins between two cultures. They necessarily decode one culture while recording it for another”
(Maanen, 1988, p.4 ).
(Clifford, 1986, p.6)
Phenomenology- knowledge that is gained by understanding through direct experience with others
Foreshadowed Problem - the research hypothesis or framework for the study
Emergent- the design should be flexible, ever changing while the study develops with the participants and the researcher
“Three modes of data collection are emphasized- interview, observation, and document review. The researcher engages in extensive involvement in the culture itself to study behavior as it occurs naturally”
(McMillan & Wergin, 2010, p. 90)
(LeCompte& Preissle,1993, p.92)
Human behavior data organized into two categories;
Emicdata relates to fieldwork
Eticdata are the viewpoints obtained after the fieldwork has been analyzed and assessed
Does the research include a history of the people?
Is it descriptive of the geography, climate and habitat?
Are the participants appropriate in relation to the foreshadowed problem?
Is the population described adequately and fairly?
Do the research results provide insights that are useful in other settings?
“Because qualitative inquiry stems from a different epistemological tradition, the standards used for judging it are, accordingly different as well. Instead of external validity, the usefulness of the study to other settings and contexts is its transferability”
(McMillan & Wergin, 2010, p. 91)
How does the study affect you? What did it teach you?
Did it contribute to a greater understanding of social life?
Does the research seem accurate, valid and credible?
Is the data supported through logical analysis?
“Credibility is the extent to which the design is rigorous, the researchers’ positioning clear, the analysis of data transparent and open to cross-examination, and the results accurate and trustworthy. Threats are instrumentation and research bias”
(McMillan & Wergin, 2010, p. 91).
Does the research exhibit reflexivity?
Is the researcher accountable for limitations and biases?
“How are the truths of cultural accounts evaluated? Who has the authority to separate science from art? Realism from fantasy? knowledge from ideology? Of course such separations will continue to be maintained, and redrawn; but their changing poetic and political grounds will be less easily ignored. In cultural studies at least, we can no longer know the whole truth, or even claim to approach it”
(Pratt, 1986, p.25)
What are some experiences you’ve had with Ethnography?
How did these experiences shape your epistemology?
LeCompte, M. D., & Preissle, J. (1993). Ethnography and qualitative design in educational research. (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Maanen, J. V. (1988). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
McMillan, J. H., & Wergin, J. F. (2010). Understanding and evaluating educational research. (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Pratt, M. L. (1986). Fieldwork in common places. In J. Clifford & G. E. Marcus (Eds.), Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography (pp.25). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.