WP297 Interpretation in Linguistic Ethnography: Some comments for Quantitative Ethnographers



What are we doing when we interpret discourse and communication data? How do we know if our interpretations are sound? How can we increase the quality of our interpretations without straitjacketing them into rigid methods that are insensitive to changing contexts and research questions? This talk, presented at a Quantitative Ethnography conference, draws on theory in hermeneutics, ethnography, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology to explore the subjective, circular nature of interpretation and principles governing meaning-making in interaction. On the basis of these theoretical insights, I offer perspective, resources, and reflexivity to guide interpretation. My grappling with issues related to interpretation is situated in and emerged from my linguistic ethnographic work and especially teaching.