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Increased interest in ethnographic research:

! increased interest in/acceptance of qualitative research
! realization of the value of an ethnographic approach to research in education
Ethnography - the process of providing holistic and scientific descriptions of
educational systems, processes, and phenomena within their specific contexts (as
applied to educational research)
rocess - descriptive inquiry within a natural setting
roduct - written account of process results
henomenology - the study of phenomena (and the meaning attached to phenomena
!y those experiencing them)
! careful description of phenomena from the perspective of those experiencing it
! su!"ective interpretation (of su!"ects) as well as o!server#s account of phenomena
under study
! holistic and naturalistic
! reality $ meaning of experiences !eing studied/descri!ed !ased on the su!"ect#s
perceptions of those experiences
%esearch implications:
! avoid a priori assumptions regarding phenomena !eing studied
! reality is viewed holistically--not reduced to components or varia!les
! data collection instruments have minimal influence on the phenomena under study
! alternative explanations of o!servations are accepta!le and may lead to changing
concepts of reality
! theory should emerge from the data as grounded theory--not preconceived theory
Contexta!"#at"on - interpretation of all data within the context of the setting or
environment of data collection
The Ho!"$t"% an& Genera! Per$pe%t"'e
! data analysis is inductive (rather than deductive)
! researcher avoids preconceived notions and theories
! researcher concentrates on entire context of research--holistic approach
! hypotheses that emerge may !e a!andoned as new data warrant
! prior research findings are generally ignored until collected data prove their
relevance to the present study
&thnographic research $ holistic ' naturalistic
! assumes the setting influences su!"ects# thoughts and feelings
! researcher attempts to interpret the situation from the su!"ects# points of view
! consists of (thic) description(
! no one methodology is employed--methodology often emerges as the study
Organ"#at"on$ - defined groups of people who interact in regular and structured ways
C!tre$ - consist of collective understandings among the mem!ers of the group that
are related to their particular roles
Per$pe%t"'e$ - sets of ideas (!eliefs, attitudes, and conceptual schemes) and actions
utilized !y individuals and groups in dealing with situations (provides coherence and
consistency among the parts of a culture)
%esearch activities - much more integrated and less sequential than in other forms of
research (particularly formulation of hypotheses)
I&ent"*"%at"on o* the Pheno+enon to ,e St&"e&
*oreshadowed pro!lems:
! follow from pro!lem statement/phenomenon to !e studied
! somewhat specific factors and issues that relate to the phenomenon identified for
! help to clarify the phenomenon or pro!lem
! help focus the study--!ut not restrict methodology too greatly
I&ent"*"%at"on o* S-.e%t$
! identifies primary su!"ects for the study and others whose interaction must !e
! uses purposeful sampling to identify su!"ects
! identifies conditions within which study will occur
! helps limit su!"ects and conditions to managea!le proportions
Hypothe$"$ Generat"on
! formulated and modified/discarded as data collection and interpretation progress,
! generated in a continuous process throughout the study
Data Co!!e%t"on
-!servation - primary method of data collection in ethnographic research
! active participant (assumes role of participant)
! privileged o!server (does not assume role of participant !ut has access to the
relevant activity for the study)
! limited o!server (used when opportunities for o!servation are restricted or a!sent)--
least desira!le
-ther forms of data collection include:
! interviews
! surveys
! written resources
! nonwritten sources (videotapes, photographs, etc,)
! attempt to !e as uno!trusive as possi!le
! interpret o!servation within context, as well as o!"ectively recording
! comprehensive and total
! unstructured (compared to o!servations made using inventories and predesigned
! continuing and ongoing
*"e!& note$ - recordings made !y o!server as they o!serve
! written in narrative/shorthand/diagrammatic fashion
! require synthesis and summarization immediately after o!servation (capture
meaning and context)
! may capture more at one time than an o!server
! may !e viewed repeatedly--permits ta)ing field notes at leisure while reviewing the
! not uno!trusive--may affect the situation at hand
! difficult to capture wide range of activity at once
! may !e quite structured or open-ended/casual
! should !e at least partially open-ended in )eeping with phenomenological approach
! often uses "n*or+ant$ as primary sources of information (i,e, an individual in which
disproportionate time is spent due to their !eing well informed, articulate, or
! structured interviews--use predetermined set of questions to gather comparative
data from sources
! good listening s)ills critical to the success of interview data collection
! nonevaluative
! genuinely interested
! easy to tal) to
! flexi!le
%eviewing -ther 1ources
! achievement tests
! attitude inventories
! psychological tests
! interest inventories
! incidence of specific !ehaviors (discipline records)
Tr"ang!at"on - qualitative cross-referencing3 it assesses the sufficiency of the data
according to the convergence of multiple data sources or data-collection procedures,
! see)s corro!oration of information among sources or techniques
! see)s convergence of information on a common finding or concept
! useful in proving hypotheses or constructing models
4onsists mainly of synthesizing information from interviews, o!servations, and other
data sources in order to draw conclusions, construct models, or test hypotheses
4lassification of data (5ec)er et al,, 6786):
6, 0ichotomous categories--information via direct o!servation or volunteered !y those
!eing studied,
9, :um!er of responses to direct queries,
;, 0ichotomous categories--information collected while alone with o!server or with
others around
<, roportions of information consisting of activities o!served versus statements made,
4lassification of data (5ogdan = 5i)len, 6779):
6, :um!er all pages of data sequentially (chronologically)--may !e done separately for
different types of data, sources of data, etc,
9, >se long undistur!ed periods of time to read through data at least twice--gives
sense of scope and holistic nature of collected data,
4lassification of data may !e ta!ular to organize data according to sources, data
types, etc,
4ritical tas) for organizing and analyzing large amounts of qualitative data,
! categories may !e modified as the analysis progresses
! ma"or codes, su!codes, and supplemental codes may !e used
! consider limiting the num!er of codes to provide parsimony while covering all the
data and providing for meaningful separation of data
! coding is a means--not an end in itself
>se of :um!ers
:um!ers - should !e used whenever possi!le to increase precision
! lengths of time
! sizes of groups
,a!!par/"ng - using rough estimates when using exact num!ers are un)nown or
Dra0"ng Con%!$"on$
! drawing conclusions is more integrated with other steps than in quantitative
! drawing final conclusions should not !e done prematurely--reflection and
consideration should occur !efore drawing final conclusions
Externa! re!"a-"!"ty - extent to which independent researchers wor)ing in a similar
context would o!tain consistent results--reproducibility3 enhanced through
comprehensive and accurate descriptions of methodology
Interna! re!"a-"!"ty - extent to which researchers wor)ing with the same data and
constructs would !e consistent in matching them3 the extent to which two or more
o!servers of the same event agree on what they saw and how they interpret what they
%elia!ility is enhanced through:
! good methodology
! adequate accessi!ility to su!"ects and information
! multiple data collection procedures
! multiple sources of information
! triangulation
Interna! 'a!"&"ty - interpreta!ility of results
ethnography - cannot control extraneous varia!les--must try to o!serve and explain
them3 !ased on deductive and inductive logic (systematic reasoning through possi!le
causes and effects)
Externa! 'a!"&"ty - generaliza!ility of results
!ased on typicality of a phenomenon (to what extent it compares and contrasts with
other similar phenomena)
aggregate2type genera!"#at"on$ - generalizations limited to statement a!out the
population as a whole (and not to individual mem!ers within the population)
a$$ortor"% arg+entat"on - argumentation !ased on the reasona!leness of its claims
given that its assumptions and evidence are accepta!le (e,g, similarity/dissimilarity to a
compara!le event)
po$ter"or" .&g+ent - results represent a reasona!le possi!ility of !eing applica!le in
another situation (the conclusiveness of which will !e !ased on o!servation of how well
the results actually apply in another situation)
! researcher has responsi!ility to accurately specify conditions of the research
settings and procedures
! readers and other researchers have responsi!ility when interpreting results and
"udging how generaliza!le they are
?ultisite studies - strength external relia!ility when results are consistent from one site
to another
! heavily context-dependent--suita!le for educational issues
! allows researchers to discover what the important questions related to specific topics
are--sets the stage for further qualitative and quantitative studies
! extensive description provides good context for theoretical contri!utions
(development of grounded theory)
! focuses on how things are and how they got that way