On the legacy of Elliot Liebow and Carol Stack: Context-driven fieldwork and the need for continuous ethnography

Ethnographic Research

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Reading response

       The study reveals that ethnographic research is used to study people’s culture in different geographical locations and or occupations. Most research are concerned with the studies of people in either schools or communities. Hence, it can be concluded that ethnographic research are the major approach to the study groups of people. The studies also revealed that ethnographic studies obtain data using two main research methodologies, which include observations and interviews. Some studies combine both interviews and observations as the tools of data collection for example Duener, (2007). Few studies rely on only one type of data collection tool where interviews dominate. However, the two data collection tools are inseparable in most studies.

       Ethnographic research involves studying a group of people or their cultures that can be done in schools or other fields. For example, it can involve studying of the performance of students in school and how they interact during their studies or communities interactions (Valenzuela, 2005; Fine, Centrie, & Roberts, 2000).The study is one of the most preferred research approaches since it allows observe and record data in an interactive session with participants (Gilmore, & McDermott, 2006). As a result, the study generates detailed and accurate data about the study subjects. The research approach is simple and cheap and thus it is suitable to study wide variety of populations and geographical locations.

       Ethnographic research involves interactions between participants and researchers. During these interactions, the researchers use various methodologies to obtain data from the participants. Observations and interviews forms the major methodologies used to carry ethnographic research. For example, Heath, (1983) Flowers, (2000) and Fine et al., (2000) uses interviews to obtain information from the study populations. Interviews help the researcher to obtain data from the participant through question and answer session. Duneier, (2007) used observations to obtain data about how kinsmen are brought up during their childhood. According to the observations, the study revealed that family members and not their mothers kept at least one-third of the target subjects, kinsmen.


       The data collected from ethnographic studies may give descriptions of how people lived in the past or in day-to-day life and how explains their behavioural interactions. Hence, it makes it easier to study people in the different communities and their behaviour. The results obtained from these studies gives insight or deeper understanding of the people of a given community. For example, ethnographic study carried out by Duneier, (2007) gave insight on how families and parents relates with their kinsmen. This helps to give broader understanding how the society brings up their relatives. In addition, the data obtained from ethnographic studies can be used to give insights on various social processes in a given field. For example, a number of studies involved data collection from schools and helped the research to understand how various performances are related to other factors that children interacts with for example repeating of classes.

       In addition, the ethnographic studies help one to have a deeper understanding of the societies in terms of what they do, how they behave, and how they interact socially. Understanding of such issues is an important factor in developing an area of interest in any field of study. For example, since most ethnographic studies involve groups of people in either school and out of schools field, it would be appropriate adopt ethnographic studies in the field of education and study how children interacts and perform in school. In addition, the interactions between teachers and children may be studied to understand whether there is relationship with their performances. This is because, in a group of people, it would be easier to carry out observations when they are interacting together. Moreover, it would be appropriate to carry out interviews.

Description of the final topic

       The topic of the final paper will be how children’ behaviour impacts on their academic performance in local schools. The study will involve studying children’s behaviour at school and home and then relating it to the academic performances. Some studies argue that bad behaviour detracts children from academic activities and thus affecting their performances negatively. On the other hand, studies argue that children behaviour has no impact on their academic performance in schools. Hence, the study will try to establish whether there is a correlation of behaviour and academic performance.

       The study will involve observations of children in school and homes and their behaviours recorded as good or bad. Some features such as how they interact with other children in schools and homes, obedience, and respect to adults and their teachers will be used as major observational characteristics. In addition, interviews will be conducted to both parents and teachers top evaluate the behaviour of their children. Academic performance will be retrieved from the schools’ achieve databases. This will then be related with the performance of the children and conclusion reached.

       The study will help to prove the current contentious findings on the impacts of children’s behaviour on the academic performance. The information obtained from this study will help parents and teachers to understand whether children’s behaviour affects their performances in school. As a result, they will be able to make appropriate decisions and implement appropriate measures.


Duneier, M. (2007). On the legacy of Elliot Liebow and Carol Stack: Context-driven fieldwork and the need for continuous ethnography. Focus, 25(1), 33-38.

Fine, M., Weis, L., Centrie, C., & Roberts, R. (2000). Educating beyond the borders of schooling. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 31(2), 131-151.

Flowers, D. A. (2000). Codeswitching and Ebonics in Urban Adult Basic Education Classrooms. Education and Urban Society, 32(2), 221-36.Gilmore, P., & McDermott, R. (2006). ” And This Is How You Shall Ask”: Linguistics, Anthropology, and Education in the Work of David Smith. Anthropology & education quarterly, 37(2), 199-211.Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. cambridge university Press.

Valenzuela, A. (2005). Subtractive schooling, caring relations, and social capital in the schooling of US-Mexican youth. Beyond silenced voices: Class, race, and gender in United States schools, 83-94.

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