Essential Ethnographic Methods A Mixed Methods Approach

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-10-01
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
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The second edition of the Ethnographer's Toolkit is designed with the novice field researcher in mind. In this revised and updated version, the authors of the Toolkit take the reader through a series of seven books that spell out the steps involved in doing ethnographic research in community and institutional settings. Using simple, reader-friendly language, the Toolkit includes case studies, examples, illustrations, checklists, key points, and additional resources. The Toolkit is the perfect starting point for students and faculty in the social sciences, public health, education, environmental studies, allied health, and nursing, who may be new to ethnographic research. It also introduces professionals from diverse fields to the use of observation, assessment, and evaluation for practical ways to improve programs and achieve better service outcomes.

Author Biography

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

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figuresp. ix
List of Examplesp. xi
Introduction to the Ethnographer's Toolkitp. xvi
Essential Data Collectionp. 1
What Is Essential Data Collection?p. 1
Why Are Research Questions Required to Guide Essential Data Collection?p. 2
The Value of Research Modeling Based on Research Questions and Prior Knowledgep. 5
Basic Skills Required in Essential Data Collectionp. 8
Establishing Professional Boundaries: Intimacy and Relationships in Face-to-Face Data Collectionp. 17
Summary: Challenges in Collecting Observational and Interview Data in Personp. 20
Defining and Entering the Fieldp. 22
Fieldwork and the Fieldp. 23
The Ethnographer as Self-Reflective Tool for Inquiryp. 26
Establishing Relationships to Facilitate Entryp. 32
Steps in Entering a Research Settingp. 32
Recording and Organizing Ethnographic Field Data: Field Notes, Interviews, Drawings, Visual Documentation, and Survey Datap. 47
What Are Field Notes, and Why Are They Important?p. 47
Recording Field Notesp. 54
Writing Up Field Notesp. 56
Making Decisions about What to Writep. 60
Organizing and Managing Ethnographic Data While in the Fieldp. 78
Storing Quantitative Data for Subsequent Analysisp. 81
Summaryp. 82
Participant Observation and Informal Interviewing in the Fieldp. 83
Introductionp. 83
Differences between Participant Observation and Nonparticipant Observationp. 84
Observation from a Distancep. 88
Deciding Where and What to Observep. 91
Deciding When to Observep. 101
Informal Interviewing in the Fieldp. 103
Tips on Recording Observations and Informal Interviewsp. 107
Dynamics and Challenges in Field Observationp. 110
Summaryp. 111
Additional Methods for Collecting Exploratory Datap. 112
Introductionp. 112
Social and Other Forms of Mappingp. 112
Eliciting Information through Objects, Drawings, Materials, and Photographsp. 124
Timelinesp. 128
Organizational Chartsp. 131
Summaryp. 132
In-depth, Open-ended Exploratory Interviewingp. 134
Introduction and Definitionsp. 134
Purposes of In-depth, Exploratory, Open-ended Interviewingp. 135
Selecting and Sampling: When and Whom to Interviewp. 137
Preparing for the Interviewp. 140
Starting an Unstructured Exploratory Interviewp. 151
Structuring Open-ended Interviewsp. 152
Self-management during Interviewingp. 163
Recording Research Interviewsp. 166
Summaryp. 167
Semistructured Interviews and Observationsp. 171
What Are Semistructured Forms of Data Collection?p. 171
Conducting Semistructured Interviewsp. 174
Constructing a Semistructured Interview Schedulep. 179
Analysis of Semistructured Interview Datap. 183
Conducting Semistructured Observationsp. 188
Sampling in Semistructured Data Collectionp. 191
Identifying and Resolving Challenges in Semistructured Data Collectionp. 193
Summaryp. 194
Focus Group Interviewsp. 195
What Is a Group Interview?p. 195
Formal Focus Group Interviewsp. 196
Organizing and Preparing for Formal Focus Group Interviewsp. 198
Creating a Representative Sample for a Focus Groupp. 202
Identifying and Training Focus Group Facilitatorsp. 211
Conducting a Focus Group Interviewp. 216
Asking Questions in Focus Group Interviewsp. 220
Characteristics of Good Focus Group Questionsp. 222
Recording Data from Focus Group Interviewsp. 226
Videotapingp. 231
Validity and Reliability in Research with Focus Groupsp. 233
Management and Analysis of Focus Group Interviewsp. 237
Advantages, Uses, and Limitations of Focus Group Interviewsp. 239
Structured Approaches to Ethnographic Data Collection: Surveysp. 241
The Role of Structured Data Collectionp. 241
Defining Ethnographic Surveysp. 243
Steps in the Construction of the Ethnographic Surveyp. 247
Administration of Ethnographic Interviewsp. 271
Analysis of Quantitative Datap. 275
Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Data: Triangulationp. 276
Summaryp. 278
Sampling in Ethnographic Researchp. 280
Approaches to Selection in Ethnographic Researchp. 283
Approaches to Sampling to Approximate or Achieve Representativeness of a Population in Ethnographic Researchp. 294
Requirements for and Cautions about the Use of Samplesp. 309
Summaryp. 318
Defining and Evaluating Quality in Ethnographic Researchp. 319
Introduction: What Is Research Quality?p. 319
Reliability, Validity, Objectivity, and Subjectivityp. 320
The Positivist Critique of Ethnographyp. 323
Why Ethnographic Characteristics Fit Poorly with Positivistic Canons for Research Qualityp. 325
Validityp. 327
Reliabilityp. 341
Conclusionp. 343
Referencesp. 345
Indexp. 353
About the Authors and Artistsp. 363
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