Ethnography: Principles in Practice
The claims of qualitative research have been gaining ground in recent years. In this accessible introduction to the methods of ethnographic fieldwork, Hammersley and Atkinson reconsider the status of ethnography and seek to place it quite explicitly in a general methodological context. Ethnography provides a systematic and coherent account of ethnographic principles and practice. Rejecting the over-simplified contrast between positivism and naturalism, but also questioning more recent critiques of these positions, the authors argue that ethnography is best understood as a reflexive process. Above all, what this means is that we must recognize that social research is part of the world that it studies. From an outline of the principle of reflexivity in Chapter One, the authors go on to discuss and exemplify the main features of ethnographic work: the selection and sampling of cases, the problems of access, observation and interviewing, recording and filing data, and the process of data analysis and writing research reports. There is also consideration of the ethical issues surrounding ethnographic research.
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