Ethnographic Approach

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Ethnographic Approach

Ethnographic Approach

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  • 1. Ethnographic Research*  Definition and purpose of ethnographic research  Key concepts and terms  Ethnographic data collection techniques *This presentation is based on the following references: 1. A power point presentation on educational research chapter 17 Ethnographic Research by Gay, Mills, and Airasian (online presentation and an on line quiz on chapter 17 http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_airasian_edresearch_8/0,11083,2527081-,00 2. A lesson plan by G. David Garson for Spring 2008 in http://www2.chass.ncsu.edu/garson/PA765/pa765syl.htm 3. Johnson, D. M. (1992). Approaches to Research in Second Language Learning. New York: Longman.
  • 2. Definition and Purpose  Ethnographic research  Definition  A qualitative approach that studies the cultural patterns and perspectives of participants in their natural settings  Purpose  To describe, analyze, and interpret the culture of a group over time to understand the group’s shared beliefs, behaviors, and language Objectives 1.1 & 1.2
  • 3. Definition and Purpose  Ethnographic research  Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, concepts, beliefs, and practices that can be attributed to the members of the group being studied  Three broad areas to help focus on tangible cultural behaviors  Cultural orientation – where the people are situated  Cultural know-how – how a group goes about daily activities  Cultural beliefs – why a group does what it does Objective 1.3
  • 4. Note Unlike experimental research that rely on tests and questionnaires, ethnographic researchers rely on themselves. They are the major instruments of data collection since they collect their data through fieldwork (watching/observing and asking/interviewing).
  • 5. Practice Which of the following would be included in a definition of ethnographic research?  A quantitative approach that studies cultural patterns of participants  A quantitative and qualitative approach that studies cultural diversity  A qualitative approach that studies the cultural patterns and perspectives of participants  A qualitative approach that examines a group's cultural diversity
  • 6. Practice A set of shared attitudes, concepts, beliefs, and practices that can be attributed to the members a group being studied is a definition of their    Norms  Culture  Mores  values.
  • 7. Practice Which of the following would you expect to see in an ethnographic study?   A description of the culture of the group over time  An analysis of the culture of the group over time  An interpretation of the culture of the group over time  All of these
  • 8. Practice Christian fundamentalists are known to believe in a strict adherence to biblical teachings. This exemplifies which of the tangible cultural behaviors discussed by the authors?    Cultural orientation  Cultural know-how  Cultural beliefs  Cultural taboos
  • 9. Key Concepts and Terms  Macro-ethnography  Micro-ethnography  Emic perspective  Etic perspective  Symbols  Cultural patterning  Tacit knowledge  A key informant
  • 10. Key Concepts and Terms  Macro-ethnography is the study of broadly- defined cultural groupings, such as "the English" or "New Yorkers.“  Micro-ethnography is the study of narrowly- defined cultural groupings, such as "local government GIS specialists" or "members of Congress."  Emic perspective is the ethnographic research approach to the way the members of the given culture perceive their world. The emic perspective is usually the main focus of
  • 11. Key Concepts and Terms  Etic perspective, is the ethnographic research approach to the way non-members (outsiders) perceive and interpret behaviors and phenomena associated with a given culture.  Symbols, always a focus of ethnographic research, are any material artifact of a culture, such as art, clothing, or even technology. The ethnographer strives to understand the cultural connotations associated with symbols. Technology, for instance, may be interpreted in terms of how it relates to an implied plan to bring about a different desired state for the
  • 12. Key Concepts and Terms  Cultural patterning is the observation of cultural patterns forming relationships involving two or more symbols. Ethnographic research is holistic, believing that symbols cannot be understood in isolation but instead are elements of a whole. One method of patterning is conceptual mapping, using the terms of members of the culture themselves to relate symbols across varied forms of behavior and in varied contexts. Another method is to focus on learning processes, in order to understand how a culture transmits what it perceives to be important across generations.
  • 13. Key Concepts and Terms  Cultural patterning (continued): A third method is to focus on sanctioning processes, in order to understand which cultural elements are formally (ex., legally) prescribed or proscribed and which are informally prescribed or proscribed, and of these which are enforced through sanction and which are unenforced.
  • 14. Key Concepts and Terms  Tacit knowledge is deeply-embedded cultural beliefs which are assumed in a culture's way of perceiving the world, so much so that such knowledge is rarely or never discussed explicitly by members of the culture, but rather must be inferred by the ethnographer.
  • 15. Key Concepts and Terms  A key informant is “an individual in whom one invests a disproportionate amount of time because that individual appears to be particularly well informed, articulate, approachable, or available” (Wolcott,1988, p. 159 cited in Johnson (1992) chapter 6).
  • 16. Ethnographic Techniques  Three major techniques  Triangulation  Participant observation  Field notes Objective 5.1
  • 17. Ethnographic Techniques  Triangulation  Collecting data using many sources rather than a single one  Multiple sources  Interviews  Observations  Artifacts
  • 18. Ethnographic Techniques  Triangulation (continued)  Multiple informants  Consistency across sources and informants creates a stronger understanding of what is truly going on Objectives 5.1 & 5.2
  • 19. Ethnographic Techniques  Participant observation  The researcher is immersed in the research setting in order to get close to those studied as a way of understanding what their experiences and activities mean to them
  • 20. Ethnographic Techniques  Participant observation (continued)  Two purposes  To observe the activities, people, and physical aspects of a situation  To engage in activities that provide useful information in a given situation  Three varying degrees of participation  Active participant observer – active engagement  Privileged active observer – engaged in a more active, privileged manner such as teaching a lesson  Passive observer – little, if any, engagement Objectives 5.3 & 5.4
  • 21. Ethnographic Techniques  Participant observation (continued)  Recommended social behaviors  Negotiating entrance into the setting requires the researcher to be able to clearly describe the purpose, plan, and constraints likely associated with the research  Reciprocity requires the researcher to move between formal and informal ways of interacting with participants Objective 5.5
  • 22. Ethnographic Techniques  Recommended social behaviors (continued)  The researcher must have a tolerance for ambiguity  The researcher must have personal determination coupled with a faith in oneself Objective 5.5
  • 23. Ethnographic Techniques  Field notes  A record of the researcher’s understanding of the lives, people, and events that are the focus of the research  The link between field notes and the research  What is observed is ultimately treated as data  When writing field notes researchers should give particular attention to the Objective 5.6
  • 24. Ethnographic Techniques  The link between field notes and the research (continued)  Field notes provide essential grounding for writing broader, more coherent accounts of others’ lives and concerns  Field notes detail the social and interactional processes that make up people’s everyday lives and activities Objective 5.6
  • 25. Ethnographic Techniques  Recommendations for observing and recording field notes  Make mental notes and record them as soon as possible after observing  Jot down key information  Capture key words and phrases without a lot of explanation  Use a mnemonic device to help reconstruct the observed events Objective 5.7
  • 26. Ethnographic Techniques  Recommendations (continued)  Don’t worry about grammar or other rules  Trace what you did during the day  Avoid the temptation to recreate dialogue  Describe as completely and accurately as you can all relevant aspects of the observation Objective 5.7
  • 27. Ethnographic Techniques  Recommendations (continued)  Record your personal reactions (i.e., reflective field notes)  Observe and record everything you possibly can  Observe and look for nothing in particular  Look for “bumps” or paradoxes Objective 5.7
  • 28. Practice Interviewing administrators, teachers, and staff in a school is an example of which of the following ethnographic techniques?   Differentiation  Triangulation  Participant observation  Tolerance
  • 29. Practice Which level of participation describes a researcher who observes in a classroom and completes the Stallings Time-on-Task Snapshot, a checklist of student and teacher behavior?   active participant observer  passive observer  privileged active observer  voluntary observer
  • 30. Practice In utilizing participant observation as an ethnographic technique, the researcher needs to be aware of which of the following purposes of participant observation?   Observation of not only the people but the activities and physical aspects of a situation  Reciprocity of the research in any situation  Tolerance of ambiguity  A personal relationship with all stakeholders
  • 31. Practice Reciprocity requires the researcher to move between formal and informal ways of reciprocating with participants. This is an example of   a recommended method of triangulation.  levels of participation.  social behaviors.  degrees of participant observation.
  • 32. Practice In her observations at the Charter School in a local parish, Ms. LeBlanc records her initial impressions, makes mental notes, and draws pictures of the classroom interactions. This process is known as   participant observation.  recording field notes.  ethnographic jargon.  random observation and notes.
  • 33. Practice The link between field notes and research is important because   what is observed is ultimately treated as data.  field notes provide an essential grounding for writing broader, more coherent accounts of others' life concerns.  field notes detail social and interaction processes that make up people's everyday lives.  all of these.
  • 34. Practice  Which of the following is NOT one of the recommendations for observing and recording field notes?   Avoid the temptation to recreate dialogue  Pay attention to spelling and grammar  Record personal reflections  Look for paradoxes