Ethnographic Approaches to Literacy Research

Authored by: Susan Florio-Ruane , Mary McVee

Handbook of Reading Research

Print publication date:  April  2000
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780805823981
eBook ISBN: 9781410605023
Adobe ISBN: 9781135688967


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When the first Handbook of Reading Research was published in 1984, it included a chapter on ethnography by Larry F. Guthrie and William S. Hall. Joining a related chapter on sociolinguistics (by David Bloome and Judith Green), the chapter reviewed the interpretive study of literacy education in U.S. schools. Shortly thereafter, related reviews were published in the third edition of the Handbook of Research on Teaching (1986), including a chapter on qualitative research (by Frederick Erickson) and one on classroom discourse (by Courtney Cazden). Ethnography dominated educators’ interest in interpretive research. Noting that by 1984 ethnography was fast “approaching the status of a catchword” (p. 91), Guthrie and Hall reviewed its contributions to literacy research. In this, the second chapter on ethnography, we examine some of the ways in which the approach continues to inform research on language, culture, and education.

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