Doing Research about Education

By Geoffrey Walford | Go to book overview

6

Using Ethnographic Methods in a Study of Students' Secondary School and Post-school Careers

Gwen Wallace, Jean Rudduck and Julia Flutter with Susan Harris

Ethnography is usually seen as either a process (a method of working 'in the field') or as a finished narrative account of research findings. In this paper we challenge such a dichotomy, arguing that methodological issues in ethnographic research are not simply a discussion of the merits of techniques but an inextricable part of the final narrative account. This was particularly so in our longitudinal study where methodological and theoretical issues interconnected with the way the relationships between the members of a (changing) research team, school staff and students developed over time in the context of events. In this chapter we recount something of the story of our research project. The story is inevitably partial. Our aim is to demonstrate the value of ethnographic methods for educational research; to answer Silverman's (1985) question, 'What is going on here?'

The project began in September, 1991 and was based at Sheffield University. Jean Rudduck, Jon Nixon and David Gillborn drew up the proposal as a bid for one of 10 programmes in the major ESRC funded initiative, 'Innovation and Change in Education: The Quality of Teaching and Learning'. The programme initiative was coordinated under the leadership of Martin Hughes and members of all 10 programmes met occasionally to discuss progress and share their ideas. As Martin Hughes points out elsewhere (Hughes, 1996, p. xiv), the aim was to illuminate and inform (education policy and practice), not criticize and condemn.

Our project was called 'Making Your Way Through Secondary School: Students' experiences of teaching and learning', and was designed as a longitudinal study to track students through their last four years of secondary education from 1991 to 1995. This proved to be a period marked not only by changes in the students as they grew up, but also by changes in the schools as they responded to government policy; notably the 1988 and 1993 Education Acts.

There were also changes in the membership of the research team and changes in the focus and concerns of the educational and academic debates of which they were part. Jean Rudduck became Project Director and proved the only constant. Susan Harris was recruited as the first Post-Doctoral Research Officer but she was partly replaced by Julia Flutter (then Day) when Jean

-76-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Doing Research about Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 208

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.