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Ethnography and the perils of the single case: an example from the sociocultural analysis of primary science expertise

Traianou, Anna. 2007. Ethnography and the perils of the single case: an example from the sociocultural analysis of primary science expertise. Ethnography and Education, 2(2), pp. 209-220. ISSN 17457823 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

While the use of ethnographic and qualitative research methods has spread across many fields of educational inquiry, until recently this has had little impact on research in science education. However, there is currently a methodological shift taking place in this area, prompted by the rise of a sociocultural perspective on cognition, which sees knowledge as tied to action, and treats expertise as being defined by relevant communities of practice. There is a close affinity between this perspective and ethnography. In this paper, I discuss a recent ethnographic investigation of primary science expertise guided by this perspective: an in-depth study of the perspective and practice of a single teacher. I focus on some of the problems involved in this study, arising from the divergent orientations of the researcher and the practitioner in the context of their collaboration. These difficulties threatened the completion of the study, but in the end were negotiated successfully. However, they raise important questions about the relationship between ethnographer and informant in the context of ethnographic research.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/17457820701350616

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies

Dates:

DateEvent
June 2007Published

Item ID:

1569

Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:41

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 09:59

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569

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