Gracy documenting communities of practice

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Gracy documenting communities of practice


  • Ethnography research expands scope of research to include the socio-cultural realm of records creation and management. It defines the record in the communities in which it sits.


  • Use of qualitative methods: draws data from the context in which they occur, in an attempt to describe occurrences, as a means to determining the process in which events are embedded, and the perspectives of those participating in the events, using induction to derive possible explanations based on observed phenomena.


  • Hallmark of ethnography: position of researcher vis a vis the phenomena being studied..researcher becomes immersed in the culture/milieu; sees events as those on the inside see them. Researcher gets an insider perspective.


  • ¬†Approaches: participant observation; in-depth interviewing; focus group interviewing; content/document analysis; discourse analysis; kinesics and/or proxemics


  • Gracy's definition of archival ethnography: a form of naturalistic inquiry which positions the researcher within an archival environment to gain the cultural perspective of those responsible for the creation, collection, care, and use of records. (creators, users and archivists form communities of practice - able to be studied - this social environment/interaction creates meaning and defines values)


  • Gracy studies archivists caring for film records - preservationists caring for motion pictures. She was interested in the following 1. how work was accomplished 2. shared meanings and points of disjuncture in definition of preservation work 3. ways in which authority and power over preservation decisions are wielded by individuals and institutions


  • Methods: She used field-work, in-depth interviewing, focus group interviewing. (She used two film preservation sites, one commercial, one non-commercial)


  • Analysis Methods: Open and axial coding with memo writing (Grounded Theory)


  • ***(Gracy's thorough descriptions of her process are very informative if one is interested to do ethnographic work. Could use this paper as a framework to set up one's research...)


  • ***(She really describes and reflects on how she participated and observed. How she chose her interview questions, and how she conducted interviews.


  • ¬†Great explanation of her use of Grounded Theory" coding and memo-writing in order to analyze her data.


  • She also explains her biases, and how she worked with these throughout the research; the limitations and assumptions of methodology (defending her use of qualitative methods, rubbed up against quantitative)


  • Great step by step summary of methods used (what exactly she did, with whom or what)


  • States her case/belief and reflects on the validity of ¬†archival ethnography (benefits to approaching the record and the archive from a socio-cultural perspective


  • Includes the questions she asked her interviewees