Writing about research is always about reducing; writing about research is also about translation – translating from ‘world’ to ‘word’. A recent review essay by Bart Penders and Annemiek Nelis proposes ‘ergography’ as an alternative means of writing about research, in particular the results emerging from large-scale qualitative research programmes. Ergography is ‘a reverse translation process, back from word to world’.

Rather than presenting research findings in a book or an edited collection of essays, ergograpy (from Greek graphy: account/record, and ergo: work/product_of_work/act_of_labour) invites readers into the research process. Rather than presenting finished products, it presents powerpoints, observation journals, field notes, etc, thus making the work of gathering materials, making observations, generating ideas, etc. visible to readers.


Penders, Bart & Nelis, Annemiek (2008). Reporting Large-Scale Qualitative Research: The Ergography. Review Essay: Andrew Webster (Ed.) (2006). New Technologies in Health Care. Challenge, Change and Innovation [33 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(1), Art. 18, [open-source journal]


3 Responses to “Ergography”

  1. And I thought you outdid us all with phronetic social science. All hail ergography. But ehm, what’s the difference with blogging about research?

  2. That depends how you blog. Blogging generally amounts to a press release. Can sometimes be a mini-research paper. But you’re right, you could also blog “ergographically” (!).
    It would offer an excelent means of inviting readers into your (detailed) research practioce. Especially because it encourages interaction. Probably best to open a blog devoted specifically to the project. Going to start soon Tom?!


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