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What is ethnography?

Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1986). What is ethnography? Ethnography: Principles in practice (2nd ed.) (pp. 1-53). London: Routledge.

This would be a good book to pick up for the collection on research methodologies. At this rate, I'll need a house just for my books!

The authors review problems they perceive with two traditional frameworks of ethnography: positivism and naturalism. Instead, they suggest that researchers recognize that the researcher is part of the social world studied and that there is "no escape from reliance on common-sense knowledge and methods of investigation" (p 21). They do not see this fact as a problem but rather an opportunity to create records of the social world seen from a particular point of view and using the research to trigger reflection on the social world seen from this vantage point.