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ERIC Number: ED372073
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Power of Accounts: Ethnographic Research in a Professional Educational Setting.
Coffey, Amanda
This paper explores the dynamic nature of the power relationship within social research, concentrating on the production and reproduction of a text of the field and focusing on the processes of recording, writing, and reading. It draws on ethnographic research conducted in a United Kingdom office of an international firm of chartered accountants and focuses on the learning experiences of a cohort of recent university graduates in their first year of working for the firm. Fieldwork over the course of a year consisted of observation and interviews. The firm, as the researcher's field, became composed of what the researcher chose to record and how she chose to record it. The powerful research setting could make the researcher feel victimized and powerless through criticism and exclusivity of the study population, yet the researcher retained power as the writer reporting that environment. Such power is not fixed or permanent and is subject to reduction by the research population at a later stage. This study of the powerless in a powerful organization demonstrates that textual representations transform social actions and events into narrative, which in turn shapes and gives consequence to the details of observed life. By placing observations into recognizable textual formats, the ethnographer can make the social work readable. (Contains 56 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)