14 SES 13, Dialogue and Social Transformation, Part II: Methodological Issues, Session It I
Symposium, Part 2
In this paper I will try, briefly, based on my ethnographic experience in the field of education, to offer my view about the ethnographic method as a reflexive one and what I have termed elsewhere (Silva, 2003) an approximation to a self-ethnography. Ethnography is a personalistic method where the researcher him/herself becomes the main instrument of the investigation. As a research method, the word itself might both mean a process and a product. As a method, it can include central techniques, like participant-observation (data collection), fieldnotes (data registration) and content analysis (data coding), and peripheral ones, which can be anyone. By reflexive ethnography (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1991), I mean the need to take into account the social relation of investigation and, thus, the possible effects of the researcher’s presence in the complex web of social relations of which s/he becomes a part and parcel when s/he “enters the field”. By self-ethnography I mean the advantage of unveiling how the research process was carried out. In order to accomplish that, one might add a sort of a research biography (Ball, 1990), which could help to stress the rigour of the investigation.
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