Lawyer, historian and author Steven Lubet’s Interrogating Ethnography: Why Evidence Matters puts several well-known urban ethnographies on the figurative witness stand and finds that some don’t hold up to legal (and journalistic) scrutiny. The author encourages social science researchers to employ fact-checking techniques to increase the veracity of their work. While Lubet praises social science researchers for their altruistic missions and painstaking data collection in the field he finds follow-up research often lacking. He recognizes that ethnographers do not want to be the adversaries of marginalized subjects but believes that more rigorous vetting of data is crucial to the survival of ethnography as a respected research method. His book provides a blueprint to achieve what he says is needed credibility.


Ethnography, Book Review, Fact-Checking, Law, Journalism

Author Bio(s)

Janet K. Keeler teaches journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP). A second-year Ed.D. student in Program Development at the University of South Florida, Tampa, and her research emphasis uses food themes to formulate culturally responsive K-12 curricula. She is also enrolled in certificate programs for Qualitative Research and Diversity in Education. Keeler is a 35-year newspaper veteran and former Tampa Bay Times food editor. She has a B.S. in journalism from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Calif., and a journalism master’s from USFSP. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed to jkeeler@mail.usf.edu.

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