Do You See What I See? Examining a Collaborative Ethnography

Reuben A.Buford May, Mary Pattillo-Mccoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although there are increasing examples of collaborative ethnography, there are few explicit reflections on its process. The authors systematically juxtapose their jointly collected but separately recorded observations in a neighborhood recreation center in Chicago to examine points of similarity and difference. They find that collaborative ethnography can be useful for providing a richer description, highlighting perceptual inconsistencies, and recognizing the influence of ethnographers’ personal and intellectual backgrounds on the collection and recording of data. The authors’ reflexive analysis also illustrates that the choice of collaborators is key for influencing the depth or breadth of the data collected. Finally, they show that there is neither one truth, nor one reality, nor one stable social world to observe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-87
Number of pages23
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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