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Designing & Conducting Ethnographic Research: An Introduction



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Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc
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The Ethnographer's Toolkit series begins with this primer, which introduces novice and expert practitioners alike to the process of ethnographic research, including who should and can do ethnography, when it is used most fruitfully, and how research projects are carried out from conceptualization through to the uses of research results. Written in practical, straightforward language, this new edition defines the qualitative research enterprise, links research strategies to theoretical paradigms, and outlines the ways in which an ethnographic study can be designed. Use Designing and Conducting Ethnographic Research as a guide to the entire Toolkit or as a stand-alone introduction to ethnographic research.

Author Biography

Margaret D. LeCompte is professor of education and sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Jean J. Schensul is senior scientist at and founding director of the Institute for Community Research, adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticut, and research affiliate at Yale.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figuresp. ix
List of Examplesp. xi
Introductionp. xvii
What Is Ethnography?p. 1
Ethnography as Sciencep. 1
The Historical Evolution of Ethnographic Methodsp. 5
Ethnography for Problem Identification and Solvingp. 8
Characteristics of Ethnographyp. 12
What Is Culture? Differentiating the Individual from the Culturalp. 24
A Note on Ethnicity, Culture, and Racep. 27
Power, Situatedness, and Positionalityp. 30
The Impact of Cultural Politics on Identity and Researchp. 32
When, Where, and By Whom Should Ethnography Be Used?p. 35
Situations Requiring Ethnographic Researchp. 35
Settings Appropriate for Ethnographic Researchp. 41
Who Should Do Ethnographic Research?p. 45
Important Personality and Stylistic Requisites for Ethnographersp. 46
Paradigms for Framing the Conduct of Ethnographic Researchp. 55
Multiple Perspectives: A Cultural Way of Doing Researchp. 56
What Are Research Paradigms?p. 57
The Positivist Paradigmp. 58
The Critical Paradigmp. 62
Interpretive Paradigms: Meaning-Making in Interactional Contextsp. 67
The Ecological Paradigmp. 71
The Social Network Paradigmp. 73
A Paradigmatic Synthesisp. 76
Summaryp. 85
An Overview of Research Designp. 87
Research Design: A Blueprint for Actionp. 87
Research Designs in Social Science Researchp. 95
Quantitative Designsp. 95
Qualitative Designsp. 112
Rapid or Compressed Researchp. 122
Mixing Designs: Integrating Quantitative and Experimental with Qualitative Research Designsp. 126
Choosing and Designing an Ethnographic Research Projectp. 129
Where Do Research Questions Come From?p. 130
Deciding What to Investigate: Transforming Research Purposes into the Elements of a Research Designp. 134
Putting Together the Elements of a Research Designp. 135
Elaborating Research Questionsp. 137
What Are Data?p. 143
The Processes of Operationalization and Research Modelingp. 147
Conceptualizing Research Models and Conceptual Modelingp. 150
Identifying Populations and Study Sitesp. 154
Strategies for Selection of Sampling and Units for Studyp. 169
Collecting Ethnographic Datap. 173
Techniques for Collecting Multiple Types of Datap. 173
Resources and Logistics: How Ethnographers Allocate Time, Money, and Staffp. 183
Creating Planning Documents and Timelinesp. 187
Summaryp. 192
Data Analysis: How Ethnographers Make Sense of Their Datap. 195
Analysis as Both a Cognitive Process and a Technical Procedurep. 195
"Chunking" Data into Large Conceptual Categories or "Bins"p. 199
Defining Terms: Operational and Conceptual Levels of Analysisp. 204
Finding Initial Themes or Regularitiesp. 210
The Item Level of Analysis: Isolating Empirical "Bits" from Streams of Datap. 213
The Pattern Level of Analysis: Aggregating Similar or Related Items into Groupsp. 215
The Structural Level of Analysis: Assembling Multiple Patterns into Structures or Local Theories Informed by Conceptual Domainsp. 217
Seeking Complex Relationships across Domains and Structures by Using Multiple Levels and Sources of Datap. 220
Interpreting the Results: Figuring Out What the Story Meansp. 220
Levels of Theoryp. 222
Summaryp. 224
Identifying and Building Research Teams and Research Partnershipsp. 227
Building and Conducting Ethnographic Team Researchp. 231
Building Interdisciplinary Community Research Partnershipsp. 243
Challenges and Rewards in Ethnographic Teamwork and Interdisciplinary Intersectoral Collaborationsp. 249
Applying Ethnographyp. 251
Introduction to Applying Ethnographyp. 251
Products of Ethnographyp. 252
Informing Public Audiences: Disseminationp. 254
Developing Interventions: Formative Researchp. 262
Improving Quantitative Instrumentsp. 265
Influencing Teacher/Educator Practicep. 267
Democratizing Ethnography through Participatory Action Researchp. 270
Improving Process and Outcome Evaluationsp. 272
Influencing Policyp. 277
Supporting Advocacyp. 279
Contributing to Sciencep. 281
Summaryp. 282
Protection of Risk to Human Subjects and the Ethics of Ethnographic Fieldworkp. 285
A Brief History of Concern for the Ethical Treatment of Research Participantsp. 286
Ethics and the Individual Researcherp. 303
Ethics and Institutional Issuesp. 306
The Special Concerns and Ethical Responsibilities of Ethnographersp. 309
Conclusionp. 316
Referencesp. 319
Indexp. 337
About the Authorsp. 353
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