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Elaborating analytic ethnography: Linking fieldwork and theory

David A. Snow, Calvin Morrill and Leon Anderson
Ethnography
Vol. 4, No. 2 (June 2003), pp. 181-200
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24047808
Page Count: 20
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Elaborating analytic ethnography: Linking fieldwork and theory
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Abstract

Among the diverse styles of qualitative methodology is what John Lofland referred to as ′analytic ethnography.′ In contrast to the traditional interpretive style that attempts to get at the crux of ′what is going on′, to the more formal approach that seeks to identify the cognitive rules undergirding behavior, and to the more recent postmodern preoccupation with individual experience and voices, analytic ethnography seeks to develop systematic and generic understandings and propositions about social processes. In this article we elaborate analytic ethnography beyond Lofland's original statement by articulating how it can contribute to theoretical development through conceptual refinement and theoretical extension as well as through the more traditional development of grounded theory. We discuss and illustrate these three strategies for theoretical development by drawing on various field studies, including our own, and by suggesting the conditions propitious to each strategy.

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