Ethnography in Applied Communication Research

Authored by: Laura L. Ellingson

Routledge Handbook of Applied Communication Research

Print publication date:  June  2009
Online publication date:  July  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805849837
eBook ISBN: 9780203871645
Adobe ISBN: 9781135231798


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“Nothing is stranger than this business of humans observing other humans in order to write about them,” claimed anthropologist Behar (1996, p. 5) in her discussion of ethnography. Anyone who has conducted ethnography (especially participant observation) can attest to how strange it feels, particularly at first, to set oneself apart as an observer and turn a discerning eye to the taken-for-granted processes of a particular social setting. Strange though the endeavor may seem at times, ethnography has proven enormously useful to applied communication researchers for exploring, participating in, and documenting the rich details of daily life as they unfold (Gans, 1999).

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