Academic and Practical Writing

  • Wayne Fife


Writing ethnography can be thought of as a problem in communication. How can we best communicate the results of our study through the use of a written format? As usual, there is no single answer for this question. In fact, writing is the most “artistic,” and therefore the most variable, part of the ethnographic enterprise. There are, however, procedures that are worth following and issues worth considering before undertaking any writing project. The first thing that has to be considered is the intended audience. For a researcher, a potential audience can normally be divided into two major branches: an audience that primarily has an academic orientation versus an audience that tends to share a practical concern about a specific issue. In reality, the two audiences overlap, as a piece of writing primarily intended for academics (e.g., a Ph.D. thesis) may contain much that is of interest to practitioners (such as school teachers), and vice versa. However, each primary audience orientation calls for its own writing style or styles and each therefore should be considered in some detail by itself.


Intended Audience Hide Curriculum Academic Writing Government Bureaucrat Writing Style 
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© Wayne Fife 2005

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  • Wayne Fife

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