chapter  4
Ethnography in practice
Pages 18

The research goal in this study is to uncover patterns and regularities in the organisation of one aspect of cultural life. Our aim is to be explicit about the methods used in this research, by describing what we did, and by explaining why we did it. The point has already been made in Chapter 1 that having a social theory of literacy, as something which is contextualised in time and space, implies that certain research methods are appropriate. Methods which take literacy out of its context of use are not appropriate. Instead, methods are needed which enable us to examine in detail the role of literacy in people’s contemporary lives and in the histories and traditions of which these are a part. Our study has begun by indicating some of the historical roots of contemporary practices and describing some of the contemporary environments in which people are carrying out their everyday lives. We continue now by describing how the interviews and observations were carried out, analysed and written up.