Home >> Ethnomethodology >> The Nature of Ethnomethodology

The Nature of Ethnomethodology

The term ethnomethodology is defined as ology- study of;method –the methods used by; ethno-folk or people. For the ethnomethodologists emphasis is not on questions about the reliability and validity of investigator's observation but on the methods used by scientific investigators and laypersons alike to construct, maintain and perhaps alter what each considers and believes to be a valid and reliable set of statements about order in the world. The methodology in the ethnomethodological perspective does not address questions about the proper, unbiased or truly scientific search for knowledge rather ethnomethodology is concerned with the common methods people employ whether scientists, housewives, insurance personnel to create a sense of order about the situations in which they interact.

Ethnomethodologists are interested in how members come to agree upon an impression that there are such things as rules, definitions and values. Just what type of methods do people go about seeing, describing and asserting that rules and definitions exist? How do people use their beliefs that definitions and rules exist to describe for each other the social order?

The methods of ethnomethodology do not refer to a new and improved technique on the part of scientific sociology for deriving a more accurate picture of people's definitions of the situation and of the norms of social structure. For the ethnomethodologists emphasis is on the methods employed by those under study in creating, maintaining and altering their presumption that a social order actually exists out there in the real world.