Problematising short-term participant observation and multi-method ethnographic studies

Brockmann, Michaela (2011) Problematising short-term participant observation and multi-method ethnographic studies. Ethnography and Education, 6, (2), 229-243. (doi:10.1080/17457823.2011.587361).


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This article reports on a study of apprentices in England and Germany designed to explore young people’s learner identities over time and in relation to particular
learning environments. The research adopts a multi-method ethnographic approach, combining biographical interviews with multi-site participant observation. The article problematises the notion of participant observation and the
possibility of obtaining meaningful data in short-term observations as part of a broader research design. It highlights the importance of the researcher role and the opportunities different roles entail for developing shared understanding and co-constructing meaning. It concludes that the observations yield important findings about the construction of identity in different sites and thus complement the interview data in enabling the researcher to reconstruct the apprentices’ learner biographies.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/17457823.2011.587361
ISSNs: 1745-7823 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Southampton Education School > Centre for Higher Education at Southampton (CHES)
ePrint ID: 343782
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
June 2011Published
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2012 16:41
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:35

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