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By Margaret D. LeCompte University of Colorado Boulder, Jean J. Schensul Institute for Community Research

This primary quantity of the Ethnographer's Toolkit offers a pragmatic, uncomplicated creation to ethnography and ethnographic perform to the coed and amateur fieldworker

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Furthermore, ethnography requires an understanding of what research participants’ behaviors mean to them rather than what meaning might be imposed upon them by outsiders regarding those behaviors, which might be irrelevant and incorrect as well as unhelpful. Below we reviewed some of the circumstances under which ethnography is the most useful approach to research, answering questions about the nature, origin, and consequences of a social problem, the setting, context, and system in which it takes place, the policies that shape it, and the stakeholders that have perspectives on the question and its possible answers and solutions.

This does not mean that ordinary people cannot be trained to be ethnographic fieldworkers or that one has to be born with ethnographic insights. Certainly, with training, anyone can develop and improve ethnographic data collection and analytic skills.

Therefore, a group (even a small subgroup) must adopt a behavior or belief and practice it over time if it is to be defined as cultural rather than individual or personal. For example, the insertion by a handful of adolescents of safety pins in their earlobes could be viewed as a form of personal mutilation. But when the use of safety pins and other hardware as jewelry becomes commonplace, as it did in the teenaged punk subcultures of North America and Europe, it becomes a cultural practice. Goodenough’s definition of culture as “what we need to know [not do] to function as a member of a society .

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