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.
|Title of host publication||Research Methods|
|Subtitle of host publication||Information, Systems, and Contexts|
|Editors||Kirsty Williamson, Graeme Johanson|
|Place of Publication||Prahran, VIC|
|Publisher||Tilde University Press|
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|