Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 3–24 | Cite as

Ethnography as Translation

  • Christian J. ChurchillJr.


Sociologists and anthropologists often struggle over how to accurately convey ethnographic data from the field setting to a final report. This paper examines ethnography as a form of translation in order to clarify what occurs between the acquisition of data and the formulation of a thesis about the data. The paper argues that the ethnographer’s mind should be seen as a transitional space which in the act of translating field data into an analytic report (1) poses unique challenges to ethnography’s claims for providing an accurate account of field situations while (2) simultaneously offering paths to insight which quantitative and survey research can not.

ethnography translation participant observation qualitative research 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesSt. Thomas Aquinas CollegeSparkill

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