Ethnographic Background Of Ethnography And Ethnography

1492 Words Aug 15th, 2016 6 Pages
2.5.1 Ethnographic Background
Ethnography is essentially the description of a group of people (Agar 1982). Ethnography involves a holistic (general) approach to the study of cultural systems (knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, values and other mental predispositions), preferred behaviors and structural (social) relationships (Whitehead 2012:3). An ethnography is an all-inclusive description of a group of people by a researcher immersing him or herself in the study scene, for an extended period of time in order to comprehend how members understand their culture (Agar 1982).
Fieldwork is an essential attribute of ethnography. Fieldwork is vital in collecting primary data. To some anthropologist, fieldwork is nearly synonymous with ethnography (Whitehead 2012:3). For example, Agar (1980) refers to fieldwork as: “doing ethnography.” Fieldwork is a form of inquiry that requires a researcher to be immersed personally in the ongoing social activities of an individual or group participating in the study (Wolcott 1995). The goal of ethnography is “to grasp the native’s point of view…to realize his vision of the world” (Malinowski 1922:25). According to Guba and Lincoln (1997:198), the several hypotheses, theories, and interpretive frameworks brought by outside investigators “may have little or no meaning within the emic view of studied individuals, groups, societies, or cultures.” The primary reason for doing fieldwork in ethnography is to achieve emic validity (having an understanding…

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