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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Trusting the method: an ethnographic search for policy in practice in an Australian primary school
Author(s): Robinson, Sarah
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Keywords: ethnographic methods
fieldwork preparation
educational research
Education Research Australia
Issue Date: Sep-2008
Date Deposited: 7-Oct-2011
Citation: Robinson S (2008) Trusting the method: an ethnographic search for policy in practice in an Australian primary school. Ethnography and Education, 3 (3), pp. 243-252.
Abstract: The apparent simplicity of ethnographic methods studying people in their normal life setting, going beyond what might be said in surveys and interviews to observe everyday practices is deceptive. Anthropological knowledge is gained through fieldwork and through pursuing a reflexive flexible approach. This study carried out in a nongovernment primary school in Perth,Western Australia focused on the processes used by the teachers to implement reporting policy. The focus of this paper is not on the data of the research, but on the experiences of a researcher in the field for the first time. Despite being aware of what Schweder (1997) describes as the need to be open to the surprise of ethnography, the events which followed my first hours in the field still managed to disturb my equilibrium as they proceeded to unfold in unexpected ways. The factors which influenced the outcome of the research were serendipitous and for the researcher were vital in my initiation into ethnographic methods.
DOI Link: 10.1080/17457820802305477
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