EDU610: Research Question on Methodology and Ethnographic Approach

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Education-Teaching Assignment Question

This assignment is an opportunity for you to bring together the understandings about research questions and methodologies that you have developed throughout the unit, and use these as the basis for discussing the methodological approach that would best suit a research project or literature review based on your research question.
Introduction: Re-state your research question and briefly discuss how and why this has developed since the first and second assignments.

Methodological Approach: Based on your question, choose a methodological approach that will best serve your research purposes. Explain your methodological approach and why you have chosen it. The detailed rationale needs to justify how your methodological choices support your research purposes. Why does the approach fit your research question? Support your rationale with references from the unit materials. Describe your methodological approach. For example, will you have an ethnographic approach, or use action research, or conduct a survey, or a mixed methods approach, etc.?

Alignment of methodology with research question: Restate your research question and explain how the methodological approach fits your research question.

Education-Teaching Assignment Solution

Methodological Approach

I would like to take up the ethnographic approach for my research purposes. Ethnography methodology would help in providing the systematic study of young children, their society, and culture. In this approach, a researcher observes the society from the perspective of his or her subject of the study. Ethnography is an important qualitative methodology which is the study of social interactions, behaviors, and perceptions that takes place within particular groups, teams, communities, and organizations (Reeves et al. 2008: pg. 512). Ethnography has its roots in the anthropological studies conducted during the early 1900s on small, rural and remote societies. It started with the documented works of the researchers like Malinowski and Radcliffe Brown. They studied the societies to present their work on social arrangements and belief systems. The researchers of Chicago School of Sociology adopted it later to apply this in the studies of urban social life. The pioneers in the area were Everett Hughes, R. Park, and L. Wirth. Its aim is to provide holistic insights of people in relation to their society. It relates the views and actions of humans. What we think is mainly individual but how we act is largely societal. And it is how ethnography helps the researchers who are working on an area which is related to humans in the society. The ethnographic approach also helps in studying the location they are inhabited by thorough observations and detailed interviews. According to Hammersley, an ethnographer's job is to document the culture, practices and different perspectives of people. The goal should be to 'get inside' the way every group of people lives their lives and perceives the world (Hammersley 1992). There are some important key features of ethnographic approach that I have listed below (Hammersley and Atkinson 1995):

·         It gives an emphasis to study a particular social phenomenon instead of testing the hypothesis about it,

·          It emphasizes on unstructured data that have not been coded already,

·         It emphasizes on the investigation of a small and controlled number of cases. It may be just one but should be in great detail,

·         It emphasizes to analyze the data that interprets the meanings and functions of human actions in an explicit way.

I would like to opt the auto-ethnographic approach which has newly been developed in ethnographic studies (Reed-Danahay 1997). In this approach, a research perceives and studies the social interactions from his or her own thoughts and perspectives. A researcher's perspectives become the central point of the study. I would also use the meta-ethnographic approach. It helps in the analysis and synthesis of qualitative research texts to create new insights (Britten et al. 2002). I would use the traditional ethnographic approach in which face-to-face researcher-participant observations would be accounted for. For my study, the traditional way serves better in getting the proper data and analysis. Since the social life of human beings is itself a complex thing, researchers using this approach record a variety of situations and take field notes every now and then. The study is conducted through observations, direct engagement of the participants, and their involvement with the society. There are nine important dimensions on which the participants are observed (Spradley 1980). The list is provided below:

1.      Space: Physical layout of the involved places

2.      Actor: Range of involved people

3.      Activity: Activities that take place in the setting

4.      Object: Physically present things

5.      Act: Every single action that is undertaken by people

6.      Event: the activities carried out by the people

7.      Time: The time in which sequences of events take place

8.      Goal: Things that are tried to accomplish by people

9.      Feeling: Expressed and felt emotions.

This methodological choice supports my paper because my paper is based on the second language learning of immigrant children. The study of immigrant children and the development of their second language are matters of their interaction with the locals. The more they would interact with the locals, the better their communication skills would be. Early exposure to the second language and parental care at home are very important in this respect. The parents should be careful about providing their children the right kind of atmosphere, books, some movies etc in their second language. The ethnographic approach fits best to my research question for it incorporates the cultural and social study of children's second language development. In my position to state the research question, I have aimed to study the children's language development in all possible situations as in classroom observations, outside classroom observation, observation of their social and private life which would only be possible with this approach (Atkinson et al. 2001). I would take the field notes wherever possible to make a proper analysis in different situations. Since this is a qualitative study, I won't be dealing with too many children. I have already indicated that I would take four immigrant families with different economic and social background. At the same time, I would also look for the families where the number of children is maximum three. I would present the detailed case study reflecting the knowledge of second language learning development in the lives of a particular cultural group. All the four undertaken immigrant families would have the same cultural basis. The two previous papers have helped me to get into the right topic I would like to pursue further, and in this paper, I attempt to develop the ways and approach in which I could successfully conduct my research work.

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