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An Ethnography of Academic Writing: On the Very Idea of an Ethnography

Case
By: Paul V Smith Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases
Methods: Ethnography
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Abstract

Ethnography has been increasingly adopted by social researchers from many backgrounds in recent years. However, many studies that claim to be ethnographic do not carry out long-duration or extensive fieldwork as in classic anthropological studies. Rather, research in education and linguistic studies has started to claim a broadening of ethnography based on various epistemic arguments. These arguments can be seen to cohere with the original analytical aims of ethnography, but have contributed to a situation whereby ethnography has become almost synonymous with qualitative research. This article takes up a discussion that I needed to resolve in my own research, namely, how should it be named and described? This discussion was of a piece with the object of study – academic writing – which did not ...

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