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From Fieldwork to Theory and Representation in Ethnography

Methodological Issues and Practices in Ethnography

ISBN: 978-0-76231-252-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-374-7

ISSN: 1529-210X

Publication date: 16 December 2005


There are certain accepted points that influence ethnographic work, even though they do not condition or fully determine it. They include the notion that in order to develop theories about human life, an ethnographer must study human activities and the way people interpret their realities in their every-day context and must also identify and then synthesise the conditions of the field, the perspectives of the participants, the latent meanings of the context and the researcher's own ideas for the grounding, generation and expansion of propositions about what is actually going on in the events and places researched. In this process, foreshadowed problems are accepted to frame the initial focus, but producing and analysing materials from multiple sources and perspectives are also important in order to prevent over-steering from private ideas and concepts. Once formed, ethnographic propositions, descriptions or theories are explored and tested in terms of their general scope against further data. Ethnographic field-notes are one of the most important foundations in this activity.


Beach, D. (2005), "From Fieldwork to Theory and Representation in Ethnography", Troman, G., Jeffrey, B. and Walford, G. (Ed.) Methodological Issues and Practices in Ethnography (Studies in Educational Ethnography, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-17.



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