Theory and Observation

Theory and observation are called the "two pillars" of your ethnographic essay in this presentation, but they are really the two pillars of a lot more than just that. They uphold the entire academic enterprise of research: theory guides observation, and observation informs theory
sometimes, it may even help to throw a certain theory out the door. There is a third pillar, however, and that isyou guessed itargumentation. Theory and observation are put into dialogue within argumentation, and so is academic discourse carried on.

In this presentation, we will consider more closely theory's relationship to observation (without complicating it too much) and how that relationship may be shown in your ethnographic paper on a structural level in something called the empirical paper.


Sample Paper Using Empirical-Paper Structure

A note about this paper: this paper uses the structure of the empirical paper but does not reflect the typical content associated with the empirical paper. Also, unlike the ethnographies you will be writing in this class, there is no written observation of a site or a description of artifacts (in your case, texts). However, I think you'll find how the paper manages to keep content separated which is then brought together in the all-important Discussion section.