Designing and Conducting Ethnographic Research / Edition 1

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The Ethnographer's Toolkit series begins with this overview volume, which defines the ethnographic enterprise, links research strategies to theoretical paradigms, and outlines the ways in which an ethnographic study can be designed. Using practical, straightforward language, the authors of this volume introduce readers to the ethnographic process, identifying issues, choices, and techniques covered in greater depth in other kit volumes, including chapters on the personal qualities of a good researcher and on research ethics. As a guide to the contents of the Toolkit series, or as a stand-alone introduction to ethnography, this volume will be extremely valuable to all novice ethnographers.

Author Biography: Margaret Diane LeCompte: University of Colorado, Boulder Jean J. Schensul: Institute for Community Research, Hartford

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Editorial Reviews

Susan Greenbaum
LeCompte & Schensul's Ethnographer's Toolkit is a classic methods text in applied anthropology. The authors combine highly accessible writing, extremely pertinent examples, and a grounded approach to social inquiry that is both creative and versatile. The new edition of the introductory book in the series, Designing and Conducting Ethnographic Research, represents a substantial revision of the previous edition. This edition includes new discussions of the influence of ethnicity and power, expanded entries on design and analysis, and greater emphases on team and partnership building. This text is highly recommended for both graduate and undergraduate students in anthropology and related disciplines.
Janette Klingner
This is an excellent book. It is comprehensive, balanced, and thoughtfully written, with frequent examples from a range of disciplines that bring the text to life. The many definitions and cross references are quite helpful. It includes the best description of various research paradigms, epistemologies, and designs I have seen.
Federico Cintron-Moscoso
Designing and conducting ethnographic research has never made so much sense. In this first volume, LeCompte and Schensul untangle the messiness of ethnographic research in a dynamic yet evident and comprehensive way. With accessible language, relevant examples, and easy-to-adapt checklists and models, this remarkable introduction to the Ethnographer's Toolkit series, now in its second edition, will become a favorite among researchers of all levels and across disciplines. This book provides incomparable insight on an array of research paradigms and topics, resulting in a great resource for those interested in community and institutional ethnographic research, as well as those looking to increase community participation and more democratic knowledge production.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761989752
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 8/19/1999
  • Series: Ethnographer's Toolkit Series , #1
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,026,486
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret D. LeCompte is professor of education and sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Jean J. Schensul is founding director and senior scientist, Institute for Community Research, and teaches ethnographic methods at Yale and the University of Connecticut and in community settings.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures ix

List of Examples xi

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 What Is Ethnography? 1

Ethnography as Science 1

The Historical Evolution of Ethnographic Methods 5

Ethnography for Problem Identification and Solving 8

Characteristics of Ethnography 12

What Is Culture? Differentiating the Individual from the Cultural 24

A Note on Ethnicity, Culture, and Race 27

Power, Situatedness, and Positionality 30

The Impact of Cultural Politics on Identity and Research 32

Chapter 2 When, Where, and By Whom Should Ethnography Be Used? 35

Situations Requiring Ethnographic Research 35

Settings Appropriate for Ethnographic Research 41

Who Should Do Ethnographic Research? 45

Important Personality and Stylistic Requisites for Ethnographers 46

Chapter 3 Paradigms for Framing the Conduct of Ethnographic Research 55

Multiple Perspectives: A Cultural Way of Doing Research 56

What Are Research Paradigms? 57

The Positivist Paradigm 58

The Critical Paradigm 62

Interpretive Paradigms: Meaning-Making in Interactional Contexts 67

The Ecological Paradigm 71

The Social Network Paradigm 73

A Paradigmatic Synthesis 76

Summary 85

Chapter 4 An Overview of Research Design 87

Research Design: A Blueprint for Action 87

Research Designs in Social Science Research 95

Quantitative Designs 95

Qualitative Designs 112

Rapid or Compressed Research 122

Mixing Designs: Integrating Quantitative and Experimental with Qualitative Research Designs 126

Chapter 5 Choosing and Designing an Ethnographic Research Project 129

Where Do Research Questions Come From? 130

Deciding What to Investigate: Transforming Research Purposes into the Elements of a Research Design 134

Putting Together the Elements of a Research Design 135

Elaborating Research Questions 137

What Are Data? 143

The Processes of Operationalization and Research Modeling 147

Conceptualizing Research Models and Conceptual Modeling 150

Identifying Populations and Study Sites 154

Strategies for Selection of Sampling and Units for Study 169

Chapter 6 Collecting Ethnographic Data 173

Techniques for Collecting Multiple Types of Data 173

Resources and Logistics: How Ethnographers Allocate Time, Money, and Staff 183

Creating Planning Documents and Timelines 187

Summary 192

Chapter 7 Data Analysis: How Ethnographers Make Sense of Their Data 195

Analysis as Both a Cognitive Process and a Technical Procedure 195

"Chunking" Data into Large Conceptual Categories or "Bins" 199

Defining Terms: Operational and Conceptual Levels of Analysis 204

Finding Initial Themes or Regularities 210

The Item Level of Analysis: Isolating Empirical "Bits" from Streams of Data 213

The Pattern Level of Analysis: Aggregating Similar or Related Items into Groups 215

The Structural Level of Analysis: Assembling Multiple Patterns into Structures or Local Theories Informed by Conceptual Domains 217

Seeking Complex Relationships across Domains and Structures by Using Multiple Levels and Sources of Data 220

Interpreting the Results: Figuring Out What the Story Means 220

Levels of Theory 222

Summary 224

Chapter 8 Identifying and Building Research Teams and Research Partnerships 227

Building and Conducting Ethnographic Team Research 231

Building Interdisciplinary Community Research Partnerships 243

Challenges and Rewards in Ethnographic Teamwork and Interdisciplinary Intersectoral Collaborations 249

Chapter 9 Applying Ethnography 251

Introduction to Applying Ethnography 251

Products of Ethnography 252

Informing Public Audiences: Dissemination 254

Developing Interventions: Formative Research 262

Improving Quantitative Instruments 265

Influencing Teacher/Educator Practice 267

Democratizing Ethnography through Participatory Action Research 270

Improving Process and Outcome Evaluations 272

Influencing Policy 277

Supporting Advocacy 279

Contributing to Science 281

Summary 282

Chapter 10 Protection of Risk to Human Subjects and the Ethics of Ethnographic Fieldwork 285

A Brief History of Concern for the Ethical Treatment of Research Participants 286

Ethics and the Individual Researcher 303

Ethics and Institutional Issues 306

The Special Concerns and Ethical Responsibilities of Ethnographers 309

Conclusion 316

References 319

Index 337

About the Authors 353

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