GSE Publications

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Journal Article

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International Journal of the Sociology of Language





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Building on Agar’s (1996: 26) notion of rich points as those times in ethnographic research when something happens that the ethnographer doesn’t understand, methodological rich points are by extension those points where our assumptions about the way research works and the conceptual tools we have for doing research are inadequate to understand the worlds we are researching. When we pay attention to those points and adjust our research practices accordingly, they become key opportunities to advance our research and our under­ standings. Drawing for illustrative purposes on ethnographic research on bi­ lingual intercultural education policy and practice in the Andes carried out by Indigenous students for their Master’s theses at the University of San Simón’s Program for Professional Development in Bilingual Intercultural Education for the Andean Region (PROEIB Andes) in Bolivia, I highlight methodological rich points as they emerge across language policy texts, discourses and practices. Framing the methodological rich points in the context of basic questions of re­ search methodology and ethics, I borrow as organizing rubric the paradigmatic heuristic for sociolinguistic analysis first offered by Fishman (1971: 219) and here adapted to the ethnography of language policy to ask: who researches whom and what, where, how and why?


sociolinguistics, data collection and analysis, ethnographic represen­tation, thick description, emic and etic, language education research


Date Posted: 25 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.