Chapter in:Ethnographies of Academic Writing Research: Theory, methods, and interpretation
Edited by Ignacio Guillén-Galve and Ana Bocanegra-Valle
[Research Methods in Applied Linguistics 1] 2021
► pp. 22–38
What is (and could be) thick description in academic writing research?
One hallmark of ethnographic research is its use of thick description, a concept often associated with the use of multiple sources of data, collected over time, ideally aiding the researcher in understanding participants’ perspectives on the data. This chapter explores the roots of thick description in ethnographic research, and then reviews how thick description has been used in studies of academic writing through close analysis of 21 studies published in international journals. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of varying interpretations and enactments of thick description as well as the potential role of thick participation in helping researchers achieve thick description.
Keywords: thick description, ethnographic research, writing research, emic perspectives, thick participation