WIP: Developing an Ethnographic Observation and Reflection Template: An Example from Studying Epistemic Differences within EER Teams
In this work-in-progress paper, we describe the process we used to develop a fieldnotes template to support our ethnographic study of how interdisciplinary engineering education research teams use their unique perspectives to negotiate epistemic differences. We observed six virtual team meetings of an established interdisciplinary engineering education research team. The meetings we observed occurred between December 2019 and April 2020. In addition to conducting and discussing observations, our research team read empirical and theoretical articles to gain an understanding of Longino's critical contextual empiricism model. We also co-constructed pictorial systems maps to gain an understanding of and define the social reality were are studying. These efforts directly supported our discussions about how the group interacted, the types of conversations they had, and instances that suggested possible differences in epistemic identities. From our initial observations, discussions as a team, and consideration of the social reality, we created a template for taking field notes from the observations of team meetings. These field notes have three sections to help guide our observations and analysis. The sections focus on relevant identification and classification of the meeting purpose and date, specific instances of epistemic discussions, and reflection questions to help us interpret these interactions. We are currently testing our template by observing more team meetings and discussing how the template works and does not work.
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