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The Ethnographic Research Tradition and Mathematics Education Research

Publisher: Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 19
Page Numbers: 99-114

Although in theory ethnography has been put forward as a powerful naturalistic methodology, in practice it has rarely been used by educational researchers because of differences in assumptions, goals, and primary research questions. The author describes the research tradition of ethnography -- its underlying assumptions, its heritage in holistic cultural anthropology, its goals and research questions, and the organization of its research methods. Throughout, the author compares elements of this ethnographic tradition with more common educational research practices. In the final section, the author discusses the advantages of improved communication for future research in both mathematics education and educational anthropology.