Research Methods in Education

By Louis Cohen; Lawrence Manion et al. | Go to book overview

6

Naturalistic and ethnographic research

Elements of naturalistic inquiry
Chapter 1 indicated that several approaches to educational research are contained in the paradigm of qualitative, naturalistic and ethnographic research. The characteristics of that paradigm (Boas, 1943; Blumer, 1969; Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Woods, 1992; LeCompte and Preissle, 1993) include:
• humans actively construct their own meanings of situations;
• meaning arises out of social situations and is handled through interpretive processes;
• behaviour and, thereby, data are socially situated, context-related, context-dependent and context-rich. To understand a situation researchers need to understand the context because situations affect behaviour and perspectives and vice versa;
• realities are multiple, constructed and holistic ;
• knower and known are interactive, inseparable;
• only time- and context-bound working hypotheses (idiographic statements) are possible;
• all entities-are in a state of mutual simultaneous shaping, so that it is impossible to distinguish causes from effects;
• inquiry is value-bound:
• inquiries are influenced by inquirer values as expressed in the choice of a problem, evaluand, or policy option, and in the framing, bounding, and focusing of that problem, evaluand or policy option;
• inquiry is influenced by the choice of the paradigm that guides the investigation into the problem;
• inquiry is influenced by the choice of the substantive theory utilized to guide the collection and analysis of data and in the interpretation of findings;
• inquiry is influenced by the values that inhere in the context;
• inquiry is either value-resident (reinforcing or congruent) or value-dissonant (conflicting). Problem, evaluand, or policy option, paradigm, theory, and context must exhibit congruence (value-resonance) if the inquiry is to produce meaningful results;
• research must include ‘thick descriptions’ (Geertz, 1973) of the contextualized behaviour;
• the attribution of meaning is continuous and evolving over time;
• people are deliberate, intentional and creative in their actions;
• history and biography intersect—we create our own futures but not necessarily in situations of our own choosing;
• social research needs to examine situations through the eyes of the participants—the task of ethnographies, as Malinowski (1922:25) observed, is to grasp the point of view of the native [sic], his [sic] view of the world and relation to his life;
• researchers are the instruments of the research (Eisner, 1991);
• researchers generate rather than test hypotheses;
• researchers do not know in advance what they will see or what they will look for;
• humans are anticipatory beings;
• human phenomena seem to require even

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Research Methods in Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Boxes xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Part One - The Context of Educational Research 1
  • 1 - The Nature of Inquiry 3
  • Part Two - Planning Educational Research 47
  • 2 - The Ethics of Educational and Social Research 49
  • 3 - Research Design Issues- Planning Research 73
  • 4 - Sampling 92
  • 5 - Validity and Reliability 105
  • Part Three - Styles of Educational Research 135
  • 6 - Naturalistic and Ethnographic Research 137
  • 7 - Historical Research 158
  • 8 - Surveys, Longitudinal, Cross-Sectional and Trend Studies 169
  • 9 - Case Studies 181
  • 10 - Correlational Research 191
  • 11 - Ex Post Facto Research 205
  • 12 - Experiments, Quasi-Experiments and Single-Case Research 211
  • 13 - Action Research 226
  • Part Four - Strategies for Data Collection and Researching 243
  • 14 - Questionnaires 245
  • 15 - Interviews 267
  • 16 - Accounts 293
  • 17 - Observation 305
  • 18 - Tests 317
  • 19 - Personal Constructs 337
  • 20 - Multi-Dimensional Measurement 349
  • 21 - Role-Playing 370
  • Part Five - Recent Developments in Educational Research 381
  • 22 - Recent Developments 383
  • Notes 396
  • Bibliography 407
  • Index 438
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