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Ethnographic research (2)

Ethnographic research (2)






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    Ethnographic research (2) Ethnographic research (2) Presentation Transcript

    • A. Meaning of Ethnographic Research
      B. Methodology of Ethnographic Research
      C. Types of Ethnographic Designs
      D. Key Characteristics of an Ethnographic Design
      Ethnography is the in-depth study of naturally occurring
      behavior within a culture or social group. It seeks to understand
      the relationship between culture and behavior; with culture
      referring to the beliefs, values, and attitudes of a specific group
      of people.
      The ethnographic research method was developed by
      anthropologists as a way of studying and describing human
      cultures. Anthropologists immerse themselves in the lives of the
      people they study, using primarily extended observation and
      occasionally in-depth interviewing to gain clarification and more
      detailed information.
    • The ethnographer undertakes the study without any priori
      hypotheses to avoid predetermining what is observed or what
      information is elicited from informants. The ethnographer
      explores and tests hypotheses, but the hypotheses evolve out
      of the fieldwork itself. Ethnographer refer to the people from
      whom they gather information as informants rather than
      participants, and they study sites rather than individuals. The
      term ethnography is used to refer to both the work of
      studying a culture and also the end product of the research.
    • Spindler and Hammond (2000) describe some of the
      characteristics of good ethnography: (1) extended participant
      observation; (2) long time at the site; (3) collection of large
      volumes of materials such as notes, artifacts, audio, and
      videotapes; and (4) openness, which means having no specific
      hypotheses or even highly specific categories of observation at
      the start of the study
    • As in any studies, a variety of data collection techniques may
      be used as part of the ethnographic study. Common means of
      collecting data include interviewing, document analysis,
      participant observations, research diaries, and life stories. It is
      not the data collection techniques that determine whether the
      study is ethnography but rather the “socio-cultural interpretation
      that sets apart from other forms of qualitative inquiry. Ethnography
      is not defined by how data are collected, but by the lens through
      which the data are interpreted (Merriam & Associated, 2002)
    • Ethnographic Designs are qualitative research procedures
      for describing, analyzing, and interpreting a culture-sharing
      group’s shared patterns of behavior, beliefs, and language
      that develop over time. To understand the patterns of a
      culture-sharing group, the ethnographer typically spends
      considerable time in the field interviewing, observing, and
      gathering documents about the group in order to
      understand their culture-sharing behaviors, beliefs, and
    • Spradley (1980) identified the sequence of steps making up
      the methodology of ethnographic research:
      Selecting an Ethnographic Project. The scope of these
      projects can vary greatly, from studying a whole complex
      society to a single social situation or institution. The
      beginner would be wise to restrict the scope of his or her
      project to a single social situation so that it can be
      completed in a reasonable time. A social situation always
      has three components: a place, actors, and activities.
    • 2.Asking Ethnographic Questions. The researcher needs
      to have questions in mind that will guide what he or she
      sees and hears and the collection of data.
      Collecting Ethnographic Data. The researcher does
      fieldwork to find out the activities of the people, the
      physical characteristics of the situation, and what it
      feels like to be part of the situation. This step generally
      begins with an overview comprising broad descriptive
      observations. Then, after looking at the data, you move on
      to more focused observations. Here you use participant
      observation, in-depth interviews, and so on to gather data.
    • Making an Ethnographic Record. This step includes
      taking field notes and photographs, making maps, and using any other appropriate means to record the observations.
      Analyzing Ethnographic Data. The fieldwork is always
      followed by data analysis, which leads to new questions and new hypotheses, more data collection, and field notes, and more analysis. The cycle continues until the project is completed.
      6.Writing the Ethnography. The ethnography should be
      written so that the culture or group is brought to life,
      making readers feel they understand the people and their
      way of life. The ethnographic report can range in length from several
      pages to a volume or two. You can greatly simplify this task by
      beginning the writing early as data accumulate instead waiting until
      the end. The writing task will also be easier if, before writing, you
      read other well-written ethnographies.
      Realist Ethnographies
      Realist ethnography is a popular approach used by
      cultural anthropologists. It is an objective account
      of the situation, typically written in the third person
      point of view, reporting objectively on the
      information learned from participants at a field site.
      • The realist ethnographer narrates the study in a third-person
      dispassionate voice and reports on observations of participants and their views. The ethnographer does not offer
      personal reflections in the research report and remains in the background as an omniscient reporter of the facts.
      • The researcher reports objective data in a measured style uncontained by personal bias, political goals, and judgment. The researcher may provide mundane details of everyday life among the people studied. The ethnographer also uses standard categories for cultural description (family, work life, social networks, and status systems).
      • The ethnographer produces the participants’ view through closely edited quotations and has the final word on the interpretation and presentation of the culture. (Van Maanen, 1988)
    • Case Studies
      A case study is an important type of ethnography,
      although it differs from ethnography in several
      important ways. Case study researchers may focus on a
      program, event, or activity involving individuals rather
      than a group per se (Stake, 1995). The ethnographer
      searches for the shared patterns that develop as a group
      examine at the beginning of a study, especially one from
      anthropology; instead they focus on an in-depth
      exploration of a bounded system (activity, event, process,
      or individuals) based on extensive data collection (Creswell, 1998)
    • Critical Ethnographies
      Ethnography now incorporates a “ critical approach”
      (Carspecken, 1995; Carspecken & Apple, 1992; Thomas, 1993)
      to include an advocacy perspective to ethnography. Critical
      ethnographies are a type of ethnographic research in which
      the author is interested in advocating for the emancipation
      of groups marginalized in our society (Thomas, 1993).
      Critical researchers are typically politically minded
      individuals who seek , through research, to advocate against
      inequality and domination (Carspecken & Apple, 1992).
    • The major components of a critical ethnography are the ff:
      • Critical researchers are usually politically minded people.
      • Critical ethnographers speak to an audience on behalf of their participants as a means of empowering participants by giving them more authority.
      • Critical ethnographers seek to change the society.
      • Critical ethnographers identify and celebrate their biases in research. The y recognize that all research is value laden.
      • Critical ethnographers challenge the status quo and ask why it is so.
      • Critical researchers seek to connect the meaning of a situation to broader structures of social power and control.
      • Critical researchers seek to create a literal dialogue with the participants they are studying.
      With the diverse approaches to ethnography identified in the
      realist, case study, and critical approaches, it is not easy to
      identify characteristics they have in common. However, for
      those learning about ethnographers, the ff. characteristics
      typically mark an ethnographic study:
      • Cultural Themes
      • A Culture-Sharing Group
      • Shared patterns of behavior, belief , and language
      • Fieldwork
      • Description, themes, and interpretation
      • Context or Setting
      • Researcher Reflexivity
    • Cultural Themes
      Ethnographers typically study cultural themes drawn from
      cultural anthropology. Ethnographers do not venture into
      the field looking haphazardly for anything they might see.
      Instead, they are interested in adding to the knowledge about
      culture and studying specific cultural themes. A cultural
      theme in ethnography is a general position, declared or
      implied, that is openly approved or promoted in a society
      or group. As with all qualitative studies, these does not
      serve to narrow the study, instead, it becomes a broad lens
      that researchers use when they initially enter a field to study
      a group, and they look for manifestations of it.
    • A Culture-Sharing Group
      In the study of a group, ethnographers identify a single site
      (elementary classroom), locate a group within it (reading
      group), and gather data about the group (observe a reading
      period). This distinguishes ethnography from other forms of
      qualitative research that focus on individuals rather than
      groups of people. A culture-sharing group in ethnography is
      two or more individuals who have shared behaviors, beliefs,
      and language.
    • Shared Patterns of Behavior, Belief, and Language
      Ethnographic researchers look for shared patterns of
      Behavior, beliefs, and language that the culture-sharing
      group adopts over time. This characteristic has several
      Elements to it. First, the culture-sharing group needs to have
      Adopted shared patterns that the ethnographer can discern.
      A shared pattern in ethnography is a common social
      Interaction that stabilizes as tacit rules and expectations of
      The group (Spindler & Spindler, 1992). Second, the group
      Shares any one or a combination of behaviors, beliefs, and
      • A behavior in ethnography is an action taken by an individual in a cultural setting.
      • A belief in ethnography is how an individual thinks about or perceives things in a cultural setting.
      • Language in ethnography is how an individual talks to others in a cultural setting.
    • Fieldwork
      Ethnographers collect data through spending time at
      participants’ sites where they live, work, or play. To
      understand best patterns of a cultural group, an
      ethnographer spends considerable time with the group. The
      patterns cannot be easily discerned through questionnaires
      or brief encounters. Instead, the ethnographer goes to the
      “field,” lives with or frequently visits the people being studied
      and slowly learns the cultural ways in which the group
      behaves or thinks.
    • Fieldwork in ethnography means that the researcher
      gathers data in the setting where the participants are located
      and where their shared patterns can be studied. This data
      collection involves the following:
      • Emic Data is information supplied by participants in a study. Emic often refers to first-order concepts, such as local language, concepts, and ways of expression used by members in a cultural-sharing group (Schwandt, 2001)
      • Etic Datais information representing the ethnographers' interpretation of the participants’ perspectives. Etic typically refers to second-order concepts, such as the language used by the social scientist or educator, to refer to the same phenomena mentioned by the participants (Schwandt, 2001)_
      • Negotiation Dataconsists of information that the participant and the researcher agree to use in a study. Negotiation occurs at different stages in research, such as agreeing to entry procedures for a research site, mutually respecting individuals at the site, and developing a plan for giving back or reciprocating with the individuals.
    • Description, Themes, and Interpretation
      A description in ethnography is a detailed rendering of
      individuals and scenes in order to depict what is going on
      in the culture-sharing group. To do this, the researcher must
      single out some detail to include while excluding others.
      Theme Analysis moves away from reporting the facts to
      making an interpretation of people and activities. As part of
      making sense of the information, thematic data analysis in
      ethnography consists of distilling how things work and
      naming the essential features in themes in the cultural setting.
      After description and analysis comes interpretation. In
      interpretation, the ethnographer draws inferences and forms conclusions
      about what was learned. This phase of analysis is the most subjective.
    • Context or Setting
      Ethnographer present the description, themes, and
      Interpretation within the context or setting of the culture-
      Sharing group. The context for ethnography is the setting,
      Situation, or environment that surrounds the cultural group
      Being studied. It is multilayered and interrelated, consisting
      Of such factors as history, religion, politics, economy, and the
      Environment (Fetterman, 1998)
    • Researcher Reflexivity
      Ethnographic researchers make interpretations and write
      their report reflexively. Reflexivity in ethnography refers to
      the researcher being aware of and openly discussing his or
      her role in the study in a way that honors and respects the
      site and participants.