chapter  7
14 Pages

Participant Observation |

This chapter presents some useful guidelines to follow in organizing and making sense of ethnographic field data. It is difficult to make all of this clear, because much of qualitative ethnographic research has been presented with only vague descriptions of the steps of data-gathering and the processes of making sense of those raw data from the field. That situation contrasts with the presentation of quantitative survey data, which is most often presented in ways that can be clearly understood and replicated by others. Before getting down to some steps of data analysis, we need to remind ourselves of certain features of applied ethnographic research. First of all, many writers want us to believe that ethnographic research is undertaken for 'testing theoretical models' and 'building theory'. That language is partly connected to the increased requirements of some funding agencies, who want intervention programs to be 'theory-driven'. Sometimes those agencies suggest that intervention programs and associated research should 'contribute to theory'.