How not to lie with ethnography

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77 Scopus citations


This paper describes a simple strategy for doing more reliable ethnography: after fieldwork has commenced, investigators can use thought experiments to recognize inconvenient phenomena. Two examples are discussed: "the ethnographic trial" and the "inconvenience sample." The paper uses Clifford Geertz's classic "Notes on the Balinese Cockfight" as a case of how work could be made more reliable with such strategies. It highlights the value of systematically identifying aspects of the situation under study that have been excluded from the analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalSociological Methodology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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