Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Drawing on examples of ethnographic studies, critically evaluate the Essay

Drawing on examples of ethnographic studies, critically evaluate the main strengths and limitations of this research method - Essay Example The deployment of ethnography as a method to capture the realm of culture enables the researcher to dissect even the most subtle meanings associated with actions and interactions that often take place within that respective realm. It focuses on observation of specific actions and interactions within specific and natural settings rather relying solely on data collected through different external methods (Tuckman 1999). It helps to make sense of the deeper meanings that are motivated both from historical and political corner points and which rule the ruse in the daily lives. It also enables the researcher to simultaneously participate in the daily lives as well as to keep distance from the same in order to make sense of the subjective meanings attached to the actions by the subjects (Geertz 1995). In this paper I shall attempt to provide a critical overview of ethnographic research with regard to the possibilities it offer in social research. I have basically attempted to club the meri ts, demerits and instances of ethnographic research in singular edifice in the form of this paper. Thus I have attempted to draw from specific works in order to understand the relevance of the advantages and disadvantages and how the latter are overcome and through what additional methods. Being inductive in nature than deductive ethnographic research is more flexible and reserves sufficient room to incorporate elements that are difficult to manage and control and that emerge, even spontaneously, during the course of the study. The most significant use of making ethnographic analysis is that it helps the researcher to closely observe and understand the internal dynamics of the local daily lives in the cultural locale being studied. The use of observation and interviews in ethnography helps the researcher to stick to the natural settings (Wilson 1977). The opportunities for the researcher to observe the behaviour and human relations, actions and interactions within their usual enviro nment helps the researcher to â€Å"contextualize† her research (Brewer 2004: 154); it also plays a crucial role in the very process of laying foundation for the particular research. Gay and Airasian, during the course of their study about educational research generally in the European context, observes that â€Å"in ethnographic research, as opposed to other forms of social researches, hypothesis is formed after the initial phase of field visits, observation and so on† (25). This is a very crucial factor since it keeps the researcher away from any form of preoccupations about the research as such and the research questions and widens the scope of the project. In addition to the above this contextual specificity saves the researcher a great deal from generalizing the outcomes of the specific research. According to Pawson (1999), as a result of the constant interaction with subjects in their usual settings, there are constant and unexpected twists and turns in the ethno graphic research which prevent it from becoming â€Å"a neat series of sequential stages† (32). Thus ethnography could better be understood as incorporating great amounts of flexibility incorporating a â€Å"multiple series of actions in a rather flexible manner† (Ibid 33). While this remains so the question of research design occupies an important place in this research framework and ordering the research in a systematic

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