The author analyses the origin and the development of ethnography in connection with current theories and related conceptions. She follows up ethnographic literature from the early 80s till the present, compares the principles, techniques and terminology of psychometric and ethnographic methods and highlights the merits and drawbacks of the latter. In the end the application of ethnographic approaches in educational research and practise is considered.
Ethnography is a qualitative research method based on the belief in the importance of context in human behaviour and the centrality of the subjective belief system of those involved in research to the processes and outcomes of research. Ethnography involves the collection of extensive field notes, the analysis of which consists of discursive and interpretive work, in the course of which hypotheses usually emerge. The process-oriented approach to the investigation of interaction distinguishes ethnography from previous research traditions.