Ethnomethodology and literacy research: A methodological "road less travelled"

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Abstract

This article examines ethnomethodology in order to consider its particular yet under-used perspective within literacy research. Initially, the article outlines ethnomethodology, including its theoretical position and central concepts such as indexicality and reflexivity. Then, selected studies are used to illustrate the application of the methodology and related research methods to the examination of literacy and literacy instruction. This section delineates a number of constraints on the application of the methodology. These include respecification of topic as practical accomplishment, bracketing by researchers of a priori interests and background information to produceunmotivated looking, and meticulous analytic attention to locally produced social phenomenon often only made visible in fine details of transcripts. Ethnomethodology's contribution is discussed then in light of criticisms concerning the overly restricted nature of the methodology, or some versions of it. It is concluded that despite ongoing critique, the application of ethnomethodology to literacy research may: reveal taken-for-granted ways literacy lessons are accomplished, lead to the description and explication of social actions that constitute literacy instruction, and enhance existing theoretical models of literacy learning and teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-42
Number of pages17
JournalEnglish Teaching
Volume11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

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