Ethnographic Approaches to Reading Research
W ithin the educational research community, ethnography and ethnographic methods have been gaining in prominence as a means of studying schools and educational processes. The situation is no different in reading research. "Ethnography" is approaching the status of a catchword. All manner of reading researchers toss around the terms ethnographic research, qualitative methods, and observational studies with abandon. References to an ethnographic approach or ethnographic component have become essential parts of funding agencies' requests for proposals, and studies claiming to employ ethnographic methods have crept into professional reading research journals. There have been calls for a more qualitative approach and a less narrow perspective on the process of reading and the acquisition of reading skills. In other words, ethnography is achieving credibility.