Ethnographic research

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This chapter introduces the complexity of ethnographic research and the multiplicity of ways of undertaking and labelling it. The almost interchangeable use of the labels, participant observation and ethnography, is particularly emphasised. The focus of the chapter is on the various kinds of ethnography, their similarities and differences, rather than on a description of the major tools, interviews and observation, which are the subjects of other chapters. Positivist, constructivist, critical and postmodern approaches are discussed and compared, along with a range of contemporary approaches, e.g., visual and online. Ways of ensuring the trustworthiness of ethnographic research are explored. A number of examples of the use of ethnography in the information field are provided, including a virtual example focussed on online communities in Saudi Arabia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Methods
Subtitle of host publicationInformation, Systems, and Contexts
EditorsKirsty Williamson, Graeme Johanson
Place of PublicationPrahran, VIC
PublisherTilde University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9780734611482
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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