THE SOCIO-ETHNOGRAPHIC APPROACH : AN EXPLORATION OF A SPECIFIC RESEARCH POSITION IN TRAINING, EDUCATION, AND LEARNING SCIENCES

Sarah Tellier

Abstract


 

Schematically, researches in the field of humanities and social sciences are characterized by two major orientations that have evolved through different eras: the explanatory approach and the comprehensive approach (Schurmans, 2011). While the first approach highlights the importance and weight of the system, objectivity, structure, and determinisms, the second leaves room for the actor, meaning, subjectivity, and freedom. Since my introduction to Training, Education, and Learning Sciences, my researches have been firmly embedded in this second approach, because it was my understanding that research must start from the field. I believe that the positivist approach is clearly not sustainable. More to the point, it is not appropriate from an epistemological perspective in the humanities and social sciences. Any "explanation" of a social fact is subjected to numerous shortcomings, which are well known today within the scientific community (Ardoino, 2000; Morin, 1997). Following Mucchielli (1994), I readily concede that "it is better to 'understand', by accepting to buy into the outlook of the social actors, in touch with the phenomenon" (Mucchielli, 1994, p. 12). Developing such a qualitative research approach requires the construction, on a daily basis, of a constantly evolving posture. In the field of Training, Education, and Learning Sciences, Véronique Bordes (2015a) has contributed to conceptualizing the "socio-ethnographic" approach, which is grounded in the works American sociologists from the Chicago School and French ethnographers. This approach allows the researcher, by being as close as possible to the field, to shed light on the interplay of social interactions.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.32043/gsd.v6i4.737

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