Ethnographic Inquiry into Second Language Acquisition and Instruction

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1988
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Watson-Gegeo, Karen Ann
Ulichny, Polly
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University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of English as a Second Language.
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IN THE PAST FEW YEARS, we in ESL have become increasingly aware of the important role culture and cultural differences play in communication, learning, and thinking. Yet research methods traditionally used in our field have been less than successful in clarifying this role, or in helping us to take account of it in teaching. Ethnography is potentially a very important tool for basic research because it gives us a way to focus on the intersection of language, social context, and society. The purpose of this paper is to clarify what is involved in good ethnographic research both descriptively and analytically, and to illustrate the value of an ethnographic approach to research in ESL and second language acquisition. First, we will offer a basic definition of "ethnography." Next, we will briefly describe key principles of ethnographic research (further discussed in Watson-Gegeo, 1988). Then we will illustrate our points through two examples of research in which we are individually involved.
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18 pages
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University of Hawai'i Working Papers in English as a Second Language 7(2)
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