Ethnographic Research Design Essay

1235 words - 5 pages

Sometimes the research question of inquirers require benefits more from a qualitative data collection approach than a quantitative approach as they explore groups of people, in such cases ethnographic designs are best suited for their needs. Ethnographic research is designed for the collection of qualitative data because it goal is to write about groups of people in a cultural context such as “language, rituals, economic and political structures, life stages, interactions and communication styles” (Creswell, 2008, p.473). A design such as ethnographic research that requires researchers to observe and interact with the focus group or individuals opens new doors to understanding the cultural groups and their characteristics that appear over time. As schools’ diversity increases, the task is to understand the cultural groups and the role these play in the field of education. Even though ethnography studies fall under a variety of categories, the three clearly identified forms of ethnographic design include realist ethnographies, ethnographic case study, and critical ethnographies (Creswell, 2008). The three types of ethnographic design vary in their characteristics, approach, and purpose. Therefore, researchers need to analyze the types of ethnographic design to understand and identify the characteristics from which their research questions benefits most as a consideration to making a decision on the design to use.
One form of ethnographic design are realist ethnographies that are characterized by their focus on remaining objective, abstaining from judgment and simply presenting the facts as witnessed during the collection of data (Creswell, 2008). Writing objectively about the human interactions within a cultural group help researchers identify patterns and how these form in such groups over a period study time. Cultural groups extend beyond the scope of what most people commonly associate with, instead these may include groups of people the socialize and abide by certain rules and live up to certain expectations. Therefore, cultural groups may be narrow to include “teachers, students, or staff members” or broad to include “entire schools and their success, innovation, or violence” (Creswell, 2008, p. 473). In addition, a characteristic of realist ethnographies as the name itself describes it provides real and authentic information regarding the cultural groups. Providing real and factual information is possible because the report is in third person and it is written using a neutral tone while discussing the observations of the cultural group thus lacking “personal bias, political goals, and judgment” (Creswell, 2008, p. 475). Because research is known for influencing policy making, researchers may find it difficult to use a neutral tone when presenting the findings of research in their final report, however by leaving the data in its raw form and undisturbed in cultural group studies provides a better insight of the patterns observed. Presenting...

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