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ERIC Number: EJ921742
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1745-7823
Elevating the Role of Race in Ethnographic Research: Navigating Race Relations in the Field
Brown, Keffrelyn D.
Ethnography and Education, v6 n1 p97-111 2011
Little work in the social sciences or in the field of education has fully explored the methodological issues related to the study of race and racism, yet qualitative researchers acknowledge that race plays (and should play) a role in the research process. Indeed, race frames and informs the context, practices and perspectives of everyday lived experiences in society and schools--even in those instances when race is not expressly recognised. In the case of ethnographic research, race emerges as a pivotal factor that is often undertheorised and sometimes unacknowledged. Though ethnographic research seeks to illuminate "culture", and often does so in the context of research inquiries that are both racialised and that occur with researchers and participants who come from different racial backgrounds, this work often fails to place race at the centre. Drawing from data collected in a multi-sited ethnographic study on risk and academic achievement and using key insights from narrative inquiry and critical race theory in education, this paper examines how the construct of race informed and illuminated the research process for a Black female researcher whose participants were White. Findings highlight four areas of the research process implicated by race and the different racial positionalities of the researcher and participants directly and indirectly connected to the study. These areas include: (1) identifying a relevant research question; (2) locating a research site; (3) making sense of the research context; and (4) navigating context, generating data, and managing relationships in the research site. These findings suggest helping novice qualitative researchers attend to issues of race, particularly when undertaking cross-racial ethnographic research. (Contains 1 note.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A