This paper focuses on the way methodological debates in the social sciences are appropriated by teacher researchers to inform practice. It argues Hammersley's prescriptions for ethnography and the development of the sociology of education, if taken up by teacher researchers, leads to a truncated practice. A practice that folds into empiricism and has difficulty in grasping the complexities of social relations and therefore produces an inadequate practice. This aligns with pre-occupations present in the training of teacher researchers which focuses on the solution of immediate practical problems. An alternative model of educational research would recognise our positionality as researchers and take seriously the notions of oppression and social antagonism.