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Chappter Report : Educational Research Methodology

(Ethnographic Design Chapter 14)

To fulfill the assignment of Educational Research Methodology

Lecturer : Mr. Andree Gaffar S.Pd., M.Pd.

By : Group V
Ai Naniek 4103 2122 12 1039
Christina 4103 2122 12 1044
Diah Ayu Prasetiawati 4103 2122 12 1030
Khairunnisa 4103 2122 12 1032
Sulastri 4103 2122 12 1067



The term ethnography literally means writing about groups of people, but there is
controversy surrounding the definition of ethnography. Here, we include three common definitions of
ethnography according to experts: first, according to Fetterman (1998. P. 1), ethnography is the art
and science used to describe a group or culture. The description may be of a small tribal community in
an exotic land or a classroom in middle-class suburbia. Second, according to Agar (1996, p.53)
ethnography is both a product and process of research. The product is an ethnography - a written
manuscript of ones observation of the culture under study. The process involves prolonged
observation of a group (nurses, physician, and surgeons) and the last, according to Angrosino (2007),
ethnographers search for predictable patterns in the lived human experiences by carefully observing
and participating in the lives of those under study. Ethnography may also involve a full immersion of
the researcher in the day-to-day lives or culture of those under study.
So, according to Fatterman, Agar and Angrosino, ethnographic design is a research design

that use for describing, analyzing, and interpreting a culture of group that involve a full
immersion of the researcher.
Ethnography as a method has certain distinctive characteristics (Angrosino, 2007). First, it is
conducted on-site or in a naturalistic setting in which real people live. Second, it is personalized since
you as the researcher are both observer and participant in the lives of those people. Ethnography also
collects data in multiple ways for triangulation over an extended period of time. The process is
inductive, holistic and requires a long-term commitment from you. Finally, ethnography is dialogic
since conclusions and interpretations formed through it can be given comments or feedback from
those who are under study.



Ethnographic designs are a research design that use for describing, analyzing, and interpreting a
culture of group such as their behaviors, beliefs, and language, and how they develop shared patterns
of interacting over time. Ethnographic designs also are the qualitative research procedure. So,
ethnographic research can study about rituals, structures, life stages, interactions, and communication
of a group.
When Do You Conduct an Ethnography?
There are several situation to conduct an ethnography such as:

We can conduct an ethnography when the study of a group provides understanding of a larger

We can conduct an ethnography when you have a culture-sharing group to study.

We can conduct an ethnography when you have long-term access to a culture-sharing group
so that you can build a detailed record of their behaviors and beliefs over time.

How Did Ethnographic Research Develop?

Educational ethnographic developed and refined procedures borrowed from anthropology and
sociology with observations and interview became standard procedures for collecting data. The
researcher examines shared patterns of behaviors, beliefs, and language that have developed over time
by engaging in fieldwork such as observing and interviewing people where they live and work. The
analysis begins with describing and analyzing the culture-sharing group and interpreting their patterns
within the context of culture-at-work. Overall, the ethnographer employs a reflexive inquiry style of
being self-conscious about the research and the writing and being respectful of participants.
Ethnographers today are now messy and find presentation in many forms such as a performance,
poem, play, novel or a personal narrative.
There are three types of ethnographic design:
1. Realist Ethnographies
Realist ethnography is a popular approach used by cultural anthropologists. It is an objective
account of the situation, typically written in the third person point of view, reporting objectively
on the information learned from participants at a field site.

The realist ethnographer narrates the study in a third-person dispassionate voice and reports
on observations of participants and their views. The ethnographer does not offer personal
reflections in the research report and remains in the background as an omniscient reporter of

the facts.
The researcher reports objective data in a measured style uncontained by personal bias,
political goals, and judgment. The researcher may provide mundane details of everyday life
among the people studied. The ethnographer also uses standard categories for cultural

description (family, work life, social networks, and status systems).

The ethnographer produces the participants view through closely edited quotations and has
the final word on the interpretation and presentation of the culture. (Van Maanen, 1988)

2. Case Studies
A case study is an important type of ethnography, although it differs from ethnography in several
important ways. Case study researchers may focus on a program, event, or activity involving
individuals rather than a group per se (Stake, 1995). The ethnographer searches for the shared
patterns that develop as a group examine at the beginning of a study, especially one from
anthropology; instead they focus on an in-depth exploration of a bounded system (activity, event,
process, or individuals) based on extensive data collection (Creswell, 1998).
3. Critical Ethnographies
Ethnography now incorporates a critical approach (Carspecken, 1995; Carspecken & Apple,
1992; Thomas, 1993) to include an advocacy perspective to ethnography. Critical ethnographies
are a type of ethnographic research in which the author is interested in advocating for the
emancipation of groups marginalized in our society (Thomas, 1993). Critical researchers are
typically politically minded individuals who seek, through research, to advocate against inequality
and domination (Carspecken & Apple, 1992).
The major components of a critical ethnography are factors such as a value-laden orientation,
empowering people by giving them more authority, challenging the status quo, and a concern
about power and control (Madison, 2005 ). These factors play out in an ethnography in specific
procedural characteristics, listed below:
The critical ethnographer studies social issues of power, empowerment, inequality, inequity,
dominance, repression, hegemony, and victimization.
Researchers conduct critical ethnographies so that their studies do not further marginalize the
individuals being studied. Thus, the inquirers collaborate, actively participate, negotiate the
final written report, use care in entering and leaving a site, and reciprocate by giving back to
study participants.
The critical ethnographer is self-conscious about his or her interpretation, recognizing that
interpretations reflect our own history and culture. Interpretations can be only tentative and
are concerned how participants will view them.
Critical researchers position themselves in the text to be reflexive and self-aware of their role,
and to be up front in the written research report. This means identifying biases and values;

acknowledging views; and distinguishing among textual representations by the author, the
participants, and the reader. No longer is the ethnographer an objective observer, as in the
realist approach.
This non-neutral position for the critical researcher also means that he or she will be an
advocate for change to help transform our society so that people are less oppressed and
In the end, the critical ethnographic report will be a messy, multilevel, multimethod
approach to inquiry, full of contradictions, imponderables, and tensions (Denzin, 1997).


For those learning about ethnographies, the following characteristics typically illustrate an
ethnographic study:
1. Cultural Themes
Ethnographers typically study cultural themes drawn from cultural anthropology. A cultural theme
in ethnography is a general position, declared or implied, that is openly approved or promoted in a
society or group. What are these cultural themes? They can be found in introductory texts in
cultural anthropology. Wolcott (2008) mentioned introductory texts that discuss themes in cultural
2. A Culture-Sharing Group
Ethnographers learn from studying a culture-sharing group at a single site. A culture-sharing
group in ethnography is two or more individuals who have shared behaviors, beliefs, and
language. For example, groups were studied in these ethnographies:
47 students in a distance education course in resource management and environ-mental
subjects (Garland, 1993)
16 elementary education student teachers (Goodman & Adler, 1985)
40 college students in an organization who had identified themselves as either gay or bisexual
(Rhoads, 1997).
3. Shared Patterns of Behavior, Belief, and Language
Ethnographic researchers look for shared patterns of behavior, beliefs, and language that the
culture-sharing group adopts over time. This characteristic has several elements to it. First, the
culture-sharing group needs to have adopted shared patterns that the ethnographer can discern. A
shared pattern in ethnography is a common social interaction that stabilizes as tacit rules and
expectations of the group (Spindler & Spindler, 1992).
A behavior in an ethnography is an action taken by an individual in a cultural setting.
A belief in an ethnography is how an individual thinks about or perceives things in a cultural
Language in an ethnography is how an individual talks to others in a cultural setting.
Instead, the ethnographer goes to the field, lives with or frequently visits the people being
studied, and slowly learns the cultural ways in which the group behaves or thinks. Fieldwork in
ethnography means that the researcher gathers data in the setting where the participants are

located and where their shared patterns can be studied. This data collection involves the
Emic data is information supplied by participants in a study. Emic often refers to first-order
concepts, such as local language and ways of expression used by members in a cultural

sharing group (Schwandt, 2007).

Etic data is information representing the ethnographers interpretation of the par-ticipants
perspectives. Etic typically refers to second-order concepts, such as the language used by the
social scientist or educator to refer to the same phenomena mentioned by the participants

(Schwandt, 2007).
Negotiation data consist of information that the participant and the researcher agree to use in a
study. Negotiation occurs at different stages in research, such as agreeing to entry procedures
for a research site, mutually respecting individuals at the site, and developing a plan for
giving back or reciprocating with the individuals.

During fieldwork, the ethnographer uses a variety of research techniques to gather data.
4. Description, Themes, and Interpretation
A description in ethnography is a detailed rendering of individuals and scenes to depict what is
going on in the culture-sharing group. This description needs to be detailed and thick, and it needs
to identify specifics. The distinction between description and theme analysis is not always clear.
Theme analysis moves away from reporting the facts to making an interpretation of people and
activities. As part of making sense of the information, thematic data analysis in ethnography
consists of distilling how things work and naming the essential features in themes in the cultural
setting. Consistent with the process about describing and developing themes from data, the
ethnographer segments the text (or images), codes them, and formulates a small set of
nonoverlapping themes. In an ethnography, however, these themes map the shared patterns of
behavior, thinking, or talking. The difficulty is in reducing the themes down to a small set and
providing adequate evidence for each.
After description and analysis comes interpretation. In interpretation in ethnography, the
ethnographer draws inferences and forms conclusions about what was learned. This phase of
analysis is the most subjective. The researcher relates both the description and the themes back to
a larger portrait of what was learned, which often reflects some combination of the researcher
making a personal assessment, returning to the literature on the cultural theme, and raising further
questions based on the data.
5. Context or Setting
Ethnographers present the description, themes, and interpretation within the context or setting of
the culture-sharing group. The context for an ethnography is the setting, situation, or environment
that surrounds the cultural group being studied. It is multilayered and interrelated, consisting of
such factors as history, religion, politics, economy, and the environment (Fetterman, 2010).
6. Researcher Reflexivity

Ethnographic researchers make interpretations and write their report reflexively. Reflexivity in
ethnography refers to the researcher being aware of and openly discussing his or her role in the
study in a way that honors and respects the site and participants. Because ethnographic research
involves a prolonged stay at a site, researchers are concerned about their impact on the site and
the people.


Ethical issues in ethnography relate to fieldwork concerns. These ethical issues involve such
topics as gaining access to the field, staying in the field, gathering data in the field, and the
interactions of being in the field of research.
Ethnographers should be open and transparent about gathering data. This means that they
need to convey to all individuals involved in a study the purpose of the study, the general impact it
will likely have, and the sources of support and funding for the project.


According to Spradley (1980) there are 12 stage for conducting an ethnography, but we will consider
a series of steps that represents a general template rather than a definitive procedure for conducting an
1. Identify intent and the type of design, and relate intent to your research problem.
The first and most important steps are to identify why you are undertaking a study, which
form of design you plan to use, and how your intent relates to your research problem.
For a realist ethnography, the focus is on understanding a culture-sharing the group

and using the group to develop a deeper understanding of a culture theme.

For a case study, the focus is on developing an in-depth understanding of a case, such

as an event, activity or process.

2. Discuss approval and access considerations
In this type, you need to receive approval from the institutional review board and identify the
type of purposeful sampling that is available and that best answers your research questions.
3. Use appropriate data collection procedures
We can see from table 14.4 that the three designs have several common feature with an
emphasis on extensive data collection, using multiple procedures for gathering data and the
active involvement of participants in the process.

Realist Ethnography

Case Study


Identify your

The problem relates to

The problem relates to

The problem relates

intent, the

a culture-sharing

developing an in-depth

to a need to address


group and how it

understanding of a

inequities in our

design, and how

works. The problem

case or bounded

society or schools.

intent relates to

requires detailed


The problem calls

your research

description of the

The problem relates to

for action and


daily lives of people.

understanding an

advocacy. Identify

The problem relates to

event, activity,

the critical issue

understanding a

process, or one or

(e.g., inequality)

cultural theme.

more individuals.

that you wish to

Identify your cultural

Identify the type of



case, such as
intrinsic, instrumental,

Discuss how you

Receive approval

or collective.
Receive approval from

plan to receive

from institutional

institutional review

from institutional

approval and gain

review board. Locate

board. Locate a

review board.

access to study

a research site using

research site using

Locate a research

sites and

purposeful sampling

purposeful sampling

site using


procedures. Identify a



gatekeeper to provide

Identify how many


access. Guarantee

cases you plan to


provisions for

study. Identify a

Identify a

respecting the site.

gatekeeper to provide

gatekeeper to


provide access.

Guarantee provisions


for respecting the site.

provisions for

Receive approval

respecting the site.

4. Analyze and interpret data within a design
In all ethnographic design, you will engage in the general process of developing a description,
analyzing your data for themes and providing an interpretation of the meaning of tour
information. In a critical ethnography, you need to consider a balance among description,
analysis and interpretation.
5. Write the report consistent with your design
A realist ethnography is written as an objective report of information about the culture-sharing
group. Your personal views and biases will be kept in the background, and a discussion at the
end of the study should indicate how the research contributes to knowledge about the cultural
theme based on understanding the shared patterns of behavior, thinking, or language of the
culture-sharing group.

In a critical ethnography, the researchers conclude their reports with the critical issue that
initiated the study, and discuss how they as well as the participants have changed or benefited
from the research.
The criteria for evaluating an ethnography begin with applying the standards used in
qualitative research. In conducting a good ethnography, a researcher should pay attention to:
a. Identifying a cultural issue to study
b. Focuses on a cultural concept (e.g., power, acculturation)
c. Selecting a group to observe or interview over time
d. Provides evidence to show how this group has established over time pattern of behavior,
language, and beliefs.
e. Shows an analysis of this evidence through a detailed description of the culture sharing group
and the context in which it exists, themes that summarize major ideas about how the group

Moreover, the researchers need to provide evidence of being reflexive about their role in the

So, according to discussion above, an ethnography purposed to describing, analyzing, and
interpreting a culture of group clearly and specifically.
There are a number of methodologies that can be chosen for a research project. It is important for
us to know the advantages of choosing ethnography over other types of methodologies or
approaches. Below is a selective list of advantages of conducting ethnography, most culled from a
list provided by Wolcott (1999):
Ethnography can be conducted entirely by one individual.
It is longitudinal in nature, allowing you as the researcher to observe and record changes over

It can be carried out almost at any place.
It focuses on working with others rather than treating them as objects.
It provides you with a detailed and rich database for further investigation and writing.

You can make the research not only interesting but adventurous.
It requires no expensive or elaborate tools or equipment.
It may present you with an opportunity to learn and use another language.
It draws upon your personal skills and strengths to advantage.
You often have exclusive domain or sole responsibility in the chosen setting or site.
Your role is recognized.
It offers you an opportunity to integrate professional and personal life.
It allows you to get an insiders view of reality.
It can provide deep insightful data.
It can be used to study marginalized groups of people closed to other forms of research.
It allows you to collect data in a realistic or naturalistic setting in which people act naturally,
focusing on both verbal and nonverbal behaviors.

There are several disadvantages to conducting ethnographic research. Since most ethnographic
research requires fieldwork, it also faces the same limitations that field research has (Singleton &
Straits, 2005). First, ethnography can be very labor intensive and time consuming. Ethnographic
researchers can spend years in the field. Because field research is rarely an entirely detached
observation, field participation often becomes a question of how much (Singleton & Straits,
2005). Second, balancing the requirements of both participating and observing can be very
difficult (Singleton & Straits, 2005). As you become more familiar with the setting and develops
attachment and empathy for, and trust and rapport with those under study, you may be drawn into
the lives of those people more as a participant than as an observer. When you become fully
immersed in a culture or situation, you risk changing the events in which you observe and
participate, perhaps even losing sight of your role as a researcher, thereby going native and
over-identifying yourself with the group under study (Singleton & Straits, 2005).
Third, field work lacks the level of structure and control found in laboratory settings that may
help ensure objectivity. If you are not careful, your personal values and attitudes may lead to bias.
Due to the sheer volume of rich data collected, you may also experience difficulty in both data
analysis and interpretation (Roper & Shapira, 2000).
The ethnographic researcher also needs to know how to stay safe in unsafe settings, learn the
ropes, and cope with personal stress and conflicts in the field (Neuman, 2003). These negotiations
can be very difficult. Finally, due to the nature of field research that personally involves the
researcher in the social lives of other people, there are ethical dilemmas that you need to be
considering (Neuman, 2003). Issues of confidentiality and privacy; your unintentional revelation
of identities; deception and misrepresentation of yourself; identification of your biases; your
involvement with illegal behavior or activity; violation of your own basic personal moral
standards in order to conform; your identification with those lacking power in society; your
negotiations with the elite in power or authority; and your publishing field reports that may be
truthful but unflattering are all ethical issues that may arise (Angrosino, 2007; Neuman, 2003).