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Linguistic Ethnography

Linguistic Ethnography
Collecting, Analysing and Presenting Data

January 2015 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This is an engaging interdisciplinary guide to the unique role of language within ethnography.


The book provides a philosophical overview of the field alongside practical support for designing and developing your own ethnographic research. It demonstrates how to build and develop arguments and engages with practical issues such as ethics, transcription and impact.


There are chapter-long case studies based on real research that will explain key themes and help you create and analyse your own linguistic data. Drawing on the authors’ experience they outline the practical, epistemological and theoretical decisions that researchers must take when planning and carrying out their studies.


Other key features include:

  • A clear introduction to discourse analytic traditions
  • Tips on how to produce effective field notes
  • Guidance on how to manage interview and conversational data
  • Advice on writing linguistic ethnographies for different audiences
  • Annotated suggestions for further reading
  • Full glossary

 This book is a master class in understanding linguistic ethnography, it will of interest to anyone conducting field research across the social sciences.

Ethnography and Language
Linguistic Ethnography
Data in Linguistic Ethnography
Doing Research in Linguistic Ethnography: Building the Case
Case study one: Reflexivity, voice and representation in linguistic ethnography
Case study two: Researching feedback conferences in pre-service teacher training
Case study three: Ethnography and the workplace
Case study four: Ethnography, language and healthcare planning
Practical Issues in Linguistic Ethnographic Research
Empiricism, ethics and impact
Transcription, translation and technology
Writing up: genres, writer voice, audience
Ways forward

This book uniquely draws readers into the world of the linguistic ethnographer and through a series of case studies each author coaxes us to walk alongside and by doing so challenges readers to critically reflect and engage with the research life-cycle on all its different levels.  A refreshing approach!

Frances Giampapa
Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol

This is the book linguistic ethnography has been waiting for. It is a thoroughly engaging, richly informative and hugely persuasive achievement that should be essential reading on all research methods courses. Aspiring linguistic ethnographers should ensure that the book is never far from their reach

Keith Richards
Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick

This engaging and refreshingly jargon-free book provides the practical details that trainee researchers really need to know. It should be compulsory reading on research methods courses across the humanities and social sciences. 

Dr. Janet Maybin
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, The Open University

This book will be indispensable for anyone interested in seeing the social world through a linguistic ethnographic lens. Written in a highly accessible style, it offers a comprehensive guide to producing rich ethnographic accounts from field notes, audio recorded interactions, written documents and other materials. The book is packed with concrete examples and illustrative case studies reflecting the breadth and depth of an exciting new space for cutting edge research.

Dr Jeff Bezemer
Senior Research Fellow and Co-director for the Centre for Multimodal Research, Institute of Education

Sample Materials & Chapters

Linguistic Ethnography: Introduction

Fiona Copland

Fiona Copland is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston University, Birmingham where she is Director of  CLERA (Centre for Language Education Research at Aston).  Before working in higher education, she was an English language teacher in Nigeria, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK, where she also taught on a range of teacher education programmes.  This background has influenced her research interests which include talk in pre-service teacher education conferences and teaching English to young learners, and she has published in these areas.  Since attending a course in ethnography, language... More About Author

Angela Creese

Angela Creese is Professor of Educational Linguistics at the School of Education, University of Birmingham, and deputy director of the MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism. In the last ten years she has been funded to work in large multilingual research teams to research multilingualism.  Her research interests are in linguistic ethnography, language ecologies, multilingualism in society and multilingual classroom pedagogy. Her publications include Heteroglossia as Practice and Pedagogy (with Adrian Blackledge, 2014, Springer); The Routledge handbook of Multilingualism (2012, with Marilyn Martin-Jones and Adrian Blackledge);... More About Author

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