Ethnography for Education

Ethnography for Education

Ethnography for Education

Ethnography for Education


Ethnography is a distinctive approach for educational research. The authors argue that the last decade has seen ethnography come of age, not only as a way of doing research, but also as a way of theorizing and making sense of the world. Their approach is concerned with ethnography as process and ethnography as product. This critical celebration of ethnography explores what it can achieve in educational research.

The book features:
  • Thorough discussion of definitions of ethnography and its potential for use within educational research
  • Critical introductions to the principal approaches to ethnography
  • Discussions of data analysis and representation and of the challenges facing ethnography
  • Use of educational examples from real research projects throughout.
The book offers a distinctive contribution to the literature of ethnography, taking readers beyond a simplistic how to approach towards an understanding of the wider contribution ethnography can make to our understanding of educational processes.

Ethnography for Education is of value to final-year undergraduates and postgraduates in education and social science disciplines as well as education professionals engaged in practice-based research.

Christopher Pole is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Leicester. His research interests are in the areas of the sociology of education, sociology of childhood and the development of qualitative research methods. Recent publications include Practical Social Investigation: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Social Research and Hidden Hands: International Perspectives on Children's Work and Labour.

Marlene Morrison is Reader in Education Leadership and Director of the Doctorate of Education programme at the University of Lincoln. Her academic background is in the sociology of education and includes research on race equality, health education, perspectives on educational policy and practice, and the ethnography of educational settings. She has researched widely in the education that has included school, further and higher education sectors, and other public services.


I had never realized just how fascinating research was in its own right.
I was expecting the research methods course to be boring, difficult and
all about statistics but I couldn't have been more wrong. There is so
much to consider, so many aspects, so many ways of finding out what's
going on, and not just one way of representing it too. I have really been

(Student taking an MA in educational studies)

I never knew that there was so much to research. I thought that you
just chose a method, applied it, did your statistical sums and came up
with your findings. The reality is more complicated but so much more
interesting and meaningful.

(Student taking an MA in educational studies)

The best thing for me was being told that qualitative research is 'proper'
research – providing it's done properly of course. What goes on in
schools is so complex and involves so many different perspectives that
I think you often need a qualitative approach to begin to get some idea
of what's going on.

(Student taking an MA in sociology)

I really appreciate hearing about other researchers' experiences of doing
research. It was quite a revelation when I first became aware that things
don't always go as smoothly as some written accounts seem to suggest.
It's really reassuring to hear honest reports: they alert you to pitfalls and
problems and things that you might not have thought about.

(Doctoral student)

I am sure that comments such as these will be familiar to anyone who has ever taught or taken a course which aims to introduce the range of research approaches available to social scientists in general and those working in educational settings in particular.

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