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The Ethnographic Research Tradition and Mathematics Education Research

Margaret A. Eisenhart
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Vol. 19, No. 2 (Mar., 1988), pp. 99-114
DOI: 10.2307/749405
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/749405
Page Count: 16
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The Ethnographic Research Tradition and Mathematics Education Research
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Abstract

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. From my perspective as an educational anthropologist, I describe 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, I compare elements of this ethnographic tradition with more common educational research practices. In the final section, I discuss the advantages of improved communication for future research in both mathematics education and educational anthropology.

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