Mid-term Questions and Instructions

Choose two questions.  For each, first explain why you chose that question, what makes it a good one.  Then answer it.  Spend no more than 2 pages single-spaced and three hours per question. Please tag it as mid-term response, and put it in the 5870 category.

1. Drawing on the scholars we have studied so far, develop a definition of ethnography as the field relates to the composition classroom. What are the particular challenges and benefits of such studies? What techniques do these scholars suggest for overcoming these challenges? Which ones would you employ and why?

2. We have talked a lot about subjectivity during the last few weeks. Focusing on the problems of subjectivity, use the readings to develop an approach to dealing with subjectivity in your classroom observations.

3. The readings have focused on a variety of ways that ethnography is particularly suited to teacher research. So, after our reading and the discussions we have had this semester, define teacher research and how your ideas have changed about what teacher research is.

4. Brenda Jo Brueggemann’s writes about existing in the hyphenated world between participant and researcher. She candidly struggles with her part in the process and the cohabitation of both roles. Unfortunately, by occupying the hyphen, she suffered a moral dilemma and alienated her subjects. When conducting ethnographic research, what role should the researcher occupy in order to report the most accurate findings? What internal and external factors should they consider? Should the researcher follow a code of ethics and if so, who or what creates that code? Refer to our readings to support your answer.


Ethnography is not for researchers who already know what they are seeking or for those who have strong hypotheses to test. Rather, it is for those researchers who are truly wondering, seeking, curious about some aspect of literacy as it occurs naturally in sociocultural contexts (Purcell-Gates 94).

The readings in this class have focused the ways that ethnography is particularly suited to those researchers who are truly wondering, seeking, curious.  Share your experiences in your classroom observations, and connect these observations to the texts we have studied.

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