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Approaching Ethnographic Research Rob, Jiyeon, and Melissa CGE Seminar 16/02/2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Approaching Ethnographic Research Rob, Jiyeon, and Melissa CGE Seminar 16/02/2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Approaching Ethnographic Research Rob, Jiyeon, and Melissa CGE Seminar 16/02/2011

2 Ethnography-concepts and theories Iterative, inductive, and spiral research The small-scale research (e.g. a single setting, a particular social group) Qualitative › Quantitative (e.g. methods, data) Generalise/ground the theory

3 Ethnography-characteristics The direct/sustained contact with participants as natives Context(s ) The thick description The evolving process of data collection

4 Ethnography-participants’ perspectives Insider perspective: the participants’ accounts & actions (e.g. first-hand information, presenting the reality, natural inquiry, more rapport, more linguistic competence, more expression than description)

5 Ethnography-the researcher’s perspectives The researchers as natives and key informants The reflexivity as the researchers’ activity emic/etic as blend (e.g. the researcher represents his/her own emic perspective- etic perspective of the studied group)(Agar 1996)

6 Ethnography-reflexivity Allowing the researcher to depart from the ideology of assumed objectivity Emphasizing the importance of reasoning the reality Styles: 1. self-critique (subjectivity, experiential, empathy) 2. the critical treatment of self-critique 3. emphasizing local accounts and representation 4. positioning the researcher

7 Weakness-practices Time investment: (from few weeks to months, to years Bryman 2004) The participation of the researcher in the studied site(s) is intrusive (e.g. naturalism, realism) Massive/messy data: make sense of it all Ethical issues (e.g. confidentiality) Access(e.g. sampling)

8 The modified model of reflexivity (Heath and Street 2008)

9 Weakness-reliability and validity of research The perspective of participants may vary in the course of time A specific context rather than a wider context Insider: the familiarity as a result of biased view The dual role of the researcher: insider/outsider blurred boundary

10 Purposes of critical ethnography Expose the hidden agendas Describe power relations Challenge the oppressive assumptions Critique the taken-for-granted (Madison 2005)

11 Ethnographic approach Purposes: empirical evidence, open to the elements that cannot be codified at the time of study, a concern for grounding the phenomenon (Bazanger and Dodier 2004) Doing/adopting ethnographic approach and using ethnographic methods/tools

12 Ethnographic approach to ELF research-examplars Smit Ute (2008) Emic evaluations and interactive process in a classroom community of practice Susanne Ehrenreich (2008) English as a Lingua Franca in multinataional corporations-exploring business communities Baker, William (2009) Intercultural awareness and intercultural communication through English: an investigation of Thai English language users in higher education. Doctoral Thesis.-MASTERPIECE

13 Research Methodology Research Instruments 1. Observation ‘process of learning through exposure to/involvement in the day-to-day or routine activities of participants in the research setting.’ (Schensul et al. 1999:91)

14 Research Methodology 2. Writing observation: Field notes ‘written record of the observations, jottings, full notes, intellectual ideas, and emotional reflections that are created during the fieldwork process.’ (O’Reilly 2009:70)

15 Research Methodology 3. Interviews (and conversation) - Rely heavily on unstructured conversations. - Conducting the research in the context of an established relationship with a research partner (O’Reilly 2009:128) - ‘effective way to elicit in-depth personal information, explain motivations and attitudes, and gain an understanding of personal perspectives ‘ (Baker 2009:111)

16 Data Analysis ‘messy business’ It involves summarizing, sorting, translating, and organizing (coding). Reflexive process and spiral approach. Open coding and focused coding. Search for meaning and patterns.

17 Ethnography and Language Paradigm shifts highlighting: Epistemology/knowledge of language (and related areas) Approaches, agendas & orientations Role of researcher / researched Understanding language/behaviour on a local level (avoiding overarching themes of generalisability, ‘variability’ and typecasting) Pluralism (experiential not liberal)

18 Ethnography and Applied Linguistics ‘Real world problems in which language is central’ What constitutes the ‘world’ we’re looking at? How do we divide or juxtapose this world with other ‘spaces’? (where do the boundaries lie?) How is space conceived / performed / organised / shared / understood / compartmentalised?

19 Ethnography and Applied Linguistics ‘Real world problems in which language is central’ How are these problems framed? How has this developed historically? Is this understood by all in the same way? Are they problems to different people, cultures and within different social and academic spaces in different ways? How are they perceived/performed on governmental, institutional, personal and group levels?

20 Ethnography and Applied Linguistics ‘Real world problems in which language is central’ How do we separate languages / dialects / varieties (bearing in mind pluralism mentioned above)? How separable is language from other semiotic performances? How do we separate our research focus from other language performances and understandings of language use?

21 Ethnography and Applied Linguistics ‘Real world problems in which language is central’ Is language central by itself? Why (not)? What other factors are involved? If language is central, what is peripheral? Why is it peripheral? What bearing do peripheral aspects have on what we observe? Would other researchers question the centrality of ‘language’? Why?

22 Ethnography and ELF Contextual language (‘real world’) Intercultural communication Inter-individual cooperation / co- construction / adherence / roles Overarching expectations, discourses, communities, worldviews and perceived ‘norms’ and ‘rules’ Identity positioning

23 Ethnography and ELF Diversity of options and restrictions Diverse experience among users Different guidance (language policies, education) Different purposes, social roles, anxieties, perceptions, political stances, personality types, education levels/types, memberships, agendas etc.

24 Ethnography and ELF In your research, how many of these factors do you account for? Is it enough?

25 Bibliography Atkinson, P. A., Delamont, S., Coffey, A. J., Lofland, J., Lofland, L. H. (2007). (eds.) Handbook of Ethnography. Sage Publications. Baker, W. (2009). Intercultural awareness and intercultural communication through English: an investigation of Thai English language users in higher education. University of Southampton, School of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 380pp. Baszanger and Dodier (2004). Ethnography: relating the part to the whole. Sage Publications.9-34 Miller, G. and Kathryn, J. F. (2004). Building bridges: the possibility of analytic dialogue between ethnography, conversation analysis and Foucault. Sage Publications Heath, S. B. and Street, B. (2008). On Ethnography: Approaches to Language and Literacy Research. Teachers College Press.

26 Bibliography Hammersley, M. and Atkinson, P. (2007). Ethnography: Principles in Practice. (3rd edition). Routledge. Madison, D. S. (2005). Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance. London: Sage. O'Reilly, K. (2009). Key Concepts in Ethnography. Sage Publications. Riley, P. (2007). Language, Culture and Identity, London: Continuum. Roberts, C., Bryam, M., Barro, A., Jordan, S., and Street, B. (2001). Language learners as ethnographers. Multilingual Matters. Schensul, S. L., Schensul, J. J., and LeCOMPETE, M. (1999). Essential Ethnographic Methods: Observations, Interviews, and Questionnaires 2. London: AltaMira Press.


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