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Ethnographic Tales From the School Restaurant

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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This case study is aimed at postgraduate and early career researchers who wish to embark on using ethnographic techniques in educational research. The topic in question is school food and its impact upon learning. In this case, it is the social aspect which is being addressed. This research did not aim to address the nutritious element but the way pupils ate in what is termed the “school restaurant.” There is a particular focus on observation as this was used as one of the key methods for collecting data. The reason for presenting an account of observational ethnographic research stems from the complexities involved in using this method. This case study presents a view on the difficulties encountered in observational research, and, for that reason, it is particularly useful to draw upon reflections from the study. The case study also introduces ethnography, interpretivism, and social constructivism as key concepts. Overall, the school restaurant is highlighted as a learning space and an opportunity for pupils to sit and eat together while interacting with fellow peers. This particular resource allows new and emerging students to question and think about ethnography in education.

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