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A Reflexive Approach in Coming To Know: Uncovering the Logic-Of-Inquiry


A Reflexive Approach In Coming to Know: Uncovering the Logic-of-Inquiry in Ethnographic Research


Monaliza Maximo Chian

For the past three decades there has been a growing call for researchers in the social sciences across disciplines and in educational research, to place a greater emphasis on being more reflexive in both the research process and the reporting not only what was found but also their methodological logic-of-inquiry they engaged to construct the “findings” or accounts from their studies (Marcus & Clifford, 1986; Atkinson, 1990; Ellen, 1994). In Education, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) addressed this argument by constructing a set of Standards for Reporting on Empirical Social Science Research ( 2006) framed the argument the need for transparency in reporting on the conduct of both qualitative and quantitative research studies. Furthermore, as inscribed by many scholars and leaders in the field of educational as well as educational research (e.g., Arthur, Waring, Coe, Hedges, 2012; Green, Skukauskaite, & Baker, 2012; Anderson-Levitt, 2006; Green, Camilli & Elmore, 2006; American Educational Research Association, 2006; Heath, 1982) the basic foundation of any educational research is an understanding of the researcher’s ontological and epistemological assumptions on the nature of the phenomena under study. Therefore, this dissertation takes a reflexive approach in coming to understand how to think ethnographically by examining how and in what ways an intergenerational Interactional Ethnography (IE) research team jointly conceptualized a shared logic-of-inquiry that framed the (co) construction of a logic-in-use in order to address the challenges of conducting a multifaceted and technology-enabled ethnographic research study of a developing instructional program within a larger institutional project initiative in a public regional university. Guided by the Interactional Ethnography framework, the ethnographer conducted a reflexive analysis of two telling cases (Mitchell, 1984) of her reconstruction of key cycles of analysis that were undertaken by her with her IE team in order to examine the series of actions and decisions required in order to uncover what she and her team needed to know, understand, and undertake in order to strive to develop emic perspectives on the development of the principles and processes of integrating long term and futures thinking concepts into established contents of undergraduate courses within the Organizational Communication department in higher education. The researcher drew on both archive records collected and constructed by her team (video records, transcripts of interviews, field notes, and final reports) and archive records of the external team (annual reports, 8 syllabi, lesson plans, course notes). Discussions of findings from this reflexive study presented a set of principles of operations (c.f, Heath; 1982; Green, Skukauskaite, & Baker, 2012) that there were developed to reflect on and to interrogate the ontological as well as epistemological theories guiding the methodologies of data collection, construction, analysis, and interpretation at multiple points across the research process.

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