WP90 Interpretative & representational dilemmas in a linguistic ethnographic analysis: Moving from “interesting data” to a publishable research article

Snell & Lefstein
Collection: Key word


The article draws on linguistic ethnographic analysis of a video-recorded literacy lesson, and examines the complex movement from ?intriguing episode? to published article. It discusses (1) the key concepts and principles we drew upon in our analysis of the episode, and (2) the interpretive and representational dilemmas that we confronted as we moved from data analysis to academic argument, including:
? How to hook the focal case on some theoretical problem that would be of interest to readers without reducing the complexity of the episode to that one issue or making claims that overstep the data?
? How to justify ? retrospectively ? our case selection in a way that is both honest and acceptable?
? How to treat ?context?: How to cut up the data (i.e. when does the episode start and end)? What details guided our interpretation, and what information should we include in the published framing of the case?
? What should be the relationship between the different sources of data in the analysis ? especially, ethnographic ?lurking and soaking? vs. the video record?
? How to ?protect? the dignity of the teachers and pupils involved, without compromising the integrity of the analysis?
Ultimately, investigation of these and related questions leads to reflection on the relationships between data and theory in linguistic ethnography, and on how academic institutions and genres impinge upon practices of interpretation and representation.