Summary : How does one go about doing or engaging in ethnomethodological study of local occasions? Would such study be of value for social workers, hence would it help them to understand the everyday accomplishment of practice as social work? Harold Garfinkel, the founder of ethnomethodology, argued that the task is to start with and to be in the midst of ordinary and everyday activities. A beginning in ordinary, mundane, and everyday activities is also to be surrounded by taken-for-granted understandings, frameworks, and facts or facticities. The focus on “facticities” of everyday things directs us to attend to utterly ordinary and mundane interactions, and here there is deep congruence with social work interests and practices. Findings: This paper turns to Garfinkel’s oeuvre to set out in readily understandable language the orientation and tools needed for social workers to do ethnomethodological studies. A focal question is: Just how might social workers in the midst of practice actually go about engaging in EM? Application: By taking up tools from ethnomethodology, social workers can better understand and explicate the essential reflexivity of their everyday practice. As a result, EM provides a pathway for both understanding and teaching effective social work through a reflective and reflexive turn.

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Journal of Social Work
School of Social Work

deMontigney, G. (2018). Engaging ethnomethodology for social work. Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1177/1468017318795925