Ethnography as a Method: Introduction, Aim, Objectives, and Concepts

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  • Ethnography is science of ‘ethnos,’ that is, nations, people, and culture.
  • Qualitative research method.
  • Scientific study of human social phenomenon and communities
  • Considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology.

Aim, Objectives, and Concepts

  • Methods, concepts, and application of procedural rules – applied to study of social life under study.
  • Primary Aim: Selection of a topic of interest – Suggests the most appropriate approach.
  • Another Aim: Theory or model building, a guide to practice and without which it cannot be conducted.
  • Problem to be studied has be clearly expressed, examined, and written about.
  • Main issue: in fieldwork probing questions, observation, asking insightful questions, writing down what is seen and heard.
  • One must cross-check, compare information before it becomes a foundation of knowledge.
  • While collecting ethnographic data, the fieldworker should possess both the qualities of an emic and etic prospective.
  • A standard ethnography contains the description of history of community, the geography, social institutions, religious organisation, politics, economic system etc.
  • Best reason to leave the field: enough data have been gathered to describe the culture or problem.

Ethnographic Process: Research Design

  • Constructed for ethnographic study.
  • Follows certain procedural rules for study.
  • Mainly reflects the desire to achieve greater accuracy.

Ethnographic research design is a plan that includes following:

  • The outline and features of topic
  • Choice of research site or field
  • The resources for research: money, time etc.
  • The sampling of time and events
  • Access and trust.
  • Nature of fieldworker՚s roles
  • The question of gender and others
  • The form of analysis to be used
  • Recording data
  • Withdrawal from field

Use of Ethnography

Three basic usages:

  • Knowledge Generation
  • Theory Building in Ethnographic Research
  • In policy making

Developed by: