Top 101 Ethnographic Research Topics
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What is ethnography?
Ethnography is qualitative scientific research on people’s culture, beliefs, customs, and differences. The word ethnography also implies the reports that an ethnographer produces after research.
The subject is flexible as you understand society’s social challenges and conventions in focus.
Importance of Ethnography
Ethnographic research involves anthropologists living in a particular society to learn and understand their way of living for a while. However, the subject is vital in other social science fields, not only anthropology. For example, ethnographic research is applicable in:
- Gang investigation
- Studies on sports fans
- Understanding how call centres work
- Probing police officers
Ethnography has immense career possibilities. Ethnographers get employment in:
- Anthropological organizations
- Archeological organizations
- NGOs specializing in social-cultural aspects
What are the advantages of ethnographic research?
Ethnography gives a researcher first-hand information of cultures and practices of communities. The ethnographic approach gives researchers first-hand interaction with people within a particular setting.
By becoming an ethnographer, you access more authentic information that you cannot easily find when asking or reading.
Further, the subject is flexible and open to other research methods. In this case, when doing ethnography research, ethnographers do not aim to verify theories and hypotheses. Instead, they are open to gathering narratives to explain a specific culture and other aspects of a community.
Why should you use ethnography in your research?
Students who want to use ethnographic research for thesis or dissertation writing should consider using the right approach. Below is a highlight of the questions that you need to ask yourself before starting your research:
- Can you collect the information using another method? (e.g., interviews or surveys?
- Is the community in focus easily accessible?
- What methods will you use to conduct the research?
- Can any ethical issues arise during the research?
When you choose to do ethnographic research in person, we recommend finding a group that you can easily access to complete in a short timeframe.
Qualities of an excellent ethnographic research topic
To create an excellent ethnographic research topic, you should formulate a question that you are curious about and have a passion for learning. We recommend that your research idea should be:
Clear: The ethnographic research topic should be clear to understand. A precise research topic makes it easy for your audience to understand your ideas.
Concise: The research topic should be direct to the point. For this reason, you should express your topic in the fewest understandable words possible.
Complex: As much as we recommend a presice research topic, it should not be answerable by yes or no. Your research topic should require analysis and synthesis.
Arguable : Your research topic should be not only factual but also debatable. Your research should also use examples to back up your points.
Focused : Your research topic should be narrow enough to answer it concisely and thoroughly.
Top 100 ethnography research topics
The number of research topics for ethnography is unlimited. However, it would be best to consider your research’s relevance, accuracy, and audience. For this case, we have selected the best ethnographic topics for you. We hope you find a suitable one.
- Access how the culture of Native Americans have changed over time
- An ethnographic study of military families
- Can racism impact scientific decision-making?
- Comparison of the behavior of kids in school and at home
- Discuss the links between drug trafficking and violence in an area of your choice
- Gender and socialization in Muslim communities
- Homelessness is a global catastrophe
- How is child protection offered in an area of your choice?
- How to improve services for homeless pet owners
- How to punish brutal police officers
- How vulnerable are homeless women? Are they as vulnerable as homeless men?
- Impacts of foreign languages on culture
- Is homelessness a problem in your home area? (or an area of your choice)
- Police brutality to minority communities
- Racial discrimination in public universities
- The concept of adulthood in the European setting
- What are the effects of skilled migration from third-world countries?
- What are the habits of rich people in a city of your choice?
- What are the impacts of COVID-19 on socially excluded people?
- What are the interventions that could help solve homelessness
- What causes rural-urban migration?
- What is seasonal migration?
- What is the best policy analysis used by ethnographers?
- What is the cause of hospital vandalism?
- What problems do police officers face?
Easy Ethnographic Research Topics
Do you want some easy ethnography questions? Check out the list below and tell us what you think:
- An ethnographic study of Asian diets
- Causes of seasonal migrations
- Discrimination against the LGBTQ community
- Discuss how minority groups are treated in prison
- Domestic violence against men
- Effects of COVID-19
- How are languages affected by code-switching?
- How are refugees used to legitimize territorial claims?
- How does domestic violence affect women?
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected gender-based violence victims?
- How to make ethnographic research innovative
- Mental health in conflict areas
- Mental health issues among the elderly
- Methods to eliminate homelessness
- Methods used to access the quality of life
- Narrative analysis with ethnography
- Prevention of gender-based violence
- Relationship between structural discrimination and moral status
- Social stigma amongst infertile couples
- Stigma towards COVID-19 victims
- The conflict between prisoners and prison staff
- The role of self-deception in racism
- What are the challenges of taking care of people with disabilities?
- What drives people from third-world regions to travel to first-world countries?
- What is the extent of drug trafficking in South America?
Interesting Ethnographic Research topics
Are you looking for interesting ethnographic research topics? Worry no more. We have got you covered.
- Describe the cultural clashes between natives and colonizers
- Do mixed origin people have a culture
- Economic generating activities of street families
- Effects of unemployment
- Ethical theories concerning gay marriage
- History of feminism
- How are the youth affected by poverty in Canada
- How do celebrities influence the culture of their fans?
- How do drugs affect culture?
- How do illicit economies affect development?
- How do native communities perceive modern fashion?
- How does culture influence the economy
- How does foreign religion influence native culture?
- How essential is it to preserve cultural diversity?
- Impact of education on the poverty rate
- Is feminism relevant?
- Is homelessness a crisis vs. homelessness as an institution
- Issues facing bisexuals in society
- Policies essential in the management of poverty in contemporary social market economies
- Poverty eradication
- Strategies to minimize unemployment among youth in Africa
- Transgender discrimination in the USA
- What are the similarities and differences between African and American feminism?
- What defines culture?
- What factors contribute to joining cults?
- What factors contribute to leaving cults?
Additional Expert Ethnography Research Topics Suggestions
Ethnography has no limit. Some best suggestions are listed below:
- Coexistence between natives and refugees
- Coexistence of religion and politics
- Compare IQ difference between people living in rural and urban areas
- Compare the perception of children from wealthy and low-income families
- Describe the demographic characteristics of the Native communities of Hawaii
- Difference between American and Norwegian prison system
- Differences in diets in the Asian community
- Discuss the perception Japanese perception of pain
- Gender roles in African communities
- Gender roles in European communities
- Global mental health in a low-income society
- How can developing countries reach their full potential?
- How communities coexist with terrorism
- How do lifestyles encourage migration?
- How does authoritarianism affect communities?
- How does terrorism affect migration?
- How will humanity survive its inventions?
- LGBTQ in the Muslim community
- Methods of eradicating poverty
- Perception of beauty in the Maasai community in Kenya
- Racial discrimination in the 19th century
- The social-economic situation during the COVID-19 period
- Why are the minority communities suffering from severe outcomes of COVID-19 infections?
- Why do migrants use Malta as a strategic point of movement?
- Why is low income associated with poverty?
Tips for creating an ethnographic research topic
Do you want to create an ethnographic topic yourself? Below are expert tips to help you through.
Choose a general topic
Choose a broad research question of the topic that interests you. If you are interested in a topic, you have to research and make coherent points of the idea.
Do preliminary studies on the topic
By carrying out preliminary studies on the topic, you know the areas to scale down. Therefore, you should read journals and periodicals and see what researchers have covered and what thye have missed.
Consider your audience
It would be best if you determined your audience by your education level. If you are a college student, your research should be college-level. Before starting your research, ask yourself, “will the research interest my audience?”
Create evaluative questions
When selecting a research topic, create questions to evaluate it. You should ask questions like “how” and “why” to know if the topic is compelling. At this stage, also ask yourself:
- Is the ethnographic research topic clear?
- How straightforward are the research questions?
- Is the ethnographic project idea complex?
By reading through the topic suggestions and tips, we are sure you now have insightful information for your next project. But do not forget to consult us if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions.
Also check, Is It Safe To Consult Online Writers?
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40 Most Interesting Ethnographic Research Topics
Finding A-grade examples of ethnographic research topics may not be a walk in the park for college students.
The way of writing an effective ethnographic paper depends on the points discussed below.
So, here is a ready solution.
What is an Ethnographic Research Paper?
Ethnography is a social science method of research that counts on personal experiences within a subject group or a culture. Different instructors may recommend several writing guidelines for such a paper, but it generally follows a standard format. Such an arrangement incorporates a proper analysis and evaluation of the problem. Before we embark on learning how to write an ethnography, let us have a look at an ethnographic essay outline.
Structure of an Ethnographic Essay
The paper should follow the outline below: Introduction It is where you introduce your thesis statement, which is the main idea of the whole project. A proper ethnographic research topic would form a strong foundation for this part. The reader should be able to see an overview of what to expect in the essay. Methodology In this part, you explain how you did your research. Mention all the tools used and why you settled on them. It should be detailed and even a couple of in such a way that the reader can verify the information you used. Presentation and Analysis of Collected Data The findings should be placed on the table first. They should be in a logical manner, beginning with the essential facts. After that, analyze and precisely interpret the data. Let your readers know your criteria for interpretation before you start. Conclusion Different ethnographic research paper topics have different endings. However, the standard procedure is that you reiterate the most important points. Ensure that they are presented in an original way to make your conclusion not to look like a reversed introduction. That is the first part; however, finding quality examples of ethnographic research topics is another battle. Yet, don’t panic, we’ve got a legion of professional soldiers to cover your back on this.
We are going to explore a list of ethnography topics in clusters of ten each to prompt you for more. Get that notebook as we embark on this exciting experience. The items strive to meet your high school and college ethnography topics requirements.
Let’s get right into it, gang.
We will start with the easiest ones as we slowly advance to the technical topics. There is something for everybody!
Easy Ethnography Topics for High School
- A study of the incisor tooth
- The best careers that people can settle on in 2023
- A survey of the lifestyle of a teacher
- A study of the health benefits of taking water daily
- A look at the importance of the sun to children
- How greetings are in Africa
- A study of the eating habits of dogs and cats
- A comparison of the red meat and white meat
- How wealthy children compare to needy children in academic performance
- A look at how children behave at home versus in school
Interesting Ethnography Topics for College
- An ethnographic study of the Chinese diets
- The inner perspective of the culture of skateboarders
- Critical issues on the social, cultural experience of the dancing
- How nurses make sense of their caring abilities on the job
- A study of how second-hand merchants impact the bookselling industry
- Evaluating the satisfaction of a patient with the quality of care in a hospital
- What myths and misconceptions surround the global connection
- A study on the effect of uniforms in schools
- How language impacts culture
- A survey of qualitative sampling in data collection
Great Mini Ethnography Topics
- How have malls changed the shopping sector?
- Racism and its effects on campus
- Values promoted by media productions
- How cultural productions interpret the history
- A study of the communities in New York
- Teamwork and its impact on football
- Reasons for differences in families
- How service staff view people
- Lives and cultures of the hotel industry
- How immigrants express their identity
- The view of people on gays
- Adjustments made by women to fit in societies
- Homeschooling and low grades
- Hunting as a rite of passage
- Wrestling and men
- Concerts and teens
- Cultural differences between different ethnic groups
- How political clubs are changing
- A study of street children in Africa
- Politics and the U.S
How to write an effective ethnographic paper depends on the points discussed above. There are several ethnography paper examples online to give you more ideas on what you can write. Do not limit yourself to the topics above; create more unique ones on your own.
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Home — Essay Samples — Arts & Culture — Ethnography
Essays on Ethnography
Ethnographic essay topics and outline examples, essay title 1: unveiling cultural realities: an ethnographic study of [specific culture].
Thesis Statement: This ethnographic research paper provides an in-depth exploration of [specific culture], aiming to reveal the cultural practices, beliefs, social structures, and everyday life experiences of its members, while also shedding light on the impact of globalization and modernization.
- Research Context: Overview of [specific culture] and Its Significance
- Research Methods: Participant Observation, Interviews, and Data Collection
- Cultural Practices and Traditions: Rituals, Customs, and Social Norms
- Community and Social Structure: Family, Hierarchy, and Social Roles
- Impact of Globalization: Changes, Challenges, and Adaptations
- Conclusion: Insights Gained and the Cultural Richness of [specific culture]
Essay Title 2: Urban Ethnography: Exploring the Dynamics of [Specific Urban Community]
Thesis Statement: This ethnographic study focuses on [specific urban community], examining the urban environment, social interactions, community networks, and the challenges and opportunities that residents encounter in their daily lives.
- Research Context: Introduction to [specific urban community] and Its Demographics
- Research Methods: Immersive Fieldwork, Surveys, and Ethnographic Data
- Urban Landscape: Architecture, Public Spaces, and Neighborhood Characteristics
- Community Bonds: Social Cohesion, Networks, and Support Systems
- Challenges of Urban Life: Poverty, Gentrification, and Access to Resources
- Aspirations and Resilience: Stories of Residents and Their Urban Experience
- Conclusion: Understanding [specific urban community] and the Complex Urban Fabric
Essay Title 3: Ethnography of [Specific Subculture]: Navigating Identities, Belonging, and Expression
Thesis Statement: This ethnographic research paper explores the world of [specific subculture], shedding light on the subcultural identity, values, rituals, and modes of expression, while also examining the subculture's relationship with mainstream culture and the challenges it faces.
- Subcultural Context: Introduction to [specific subculture] and Its Significance
- Research Methods: Immersion, Interviews, and Documenting Subcultural Practices
- Subcultural Identity: Shared Beliefs, Symbols, and Modes of Expression
- Subculture vs. Mainstream Culture: Tensions, Resistance, and Integration
- Subcultural Challenges: Stereotypes, Stigmatization, and Legal Issues
- Subcultural Resilience: Community Building, Artistic Expression, and Social Change
- Conclusion: Embracing the Diversity of [specific subculture] and Its Impact on Society
Autoethnography: a Personal and Cultural Exploration
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Ethnomusicology and Music Education
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The Concept of Feminist Ethnography
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Ethnography as Methods of Anthropology
Strengths and weaknesses of ethnography in relation to marxist geography, the analysis of ethnographic methods, the role of ethnography in jenkins work.
Ethnography (from Greek ἔθνος ethnos "folk, people, nation" and γράφω grapho "I write") is a branch of anthropology and the systematic study of individual cultures.
Ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnographers mainly use qualitative methods, though they may also employ quantitative data. The typical ethnography is a holistic study and so includes a brief history, and an analysis of the terrain, the climate, and the habitat.
Gerhard Friedrich Müller developed the concept of ethnography as a separate discipline whilst participating in the Second Kamchatka Expedition (1733–43) as a professor of history and geography. Whilst involved in the expedition, he differentiated Völker-Beschreibung as a distinct area of study. This became known as "ethnography," following the introduction of the Greek neologism ethnographia by Johann Friedrich Schöpperlin.
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55 Ethnographic Essay Topics
Table of Contents
Ethnographic Essay Topics: A Comprehensive Guide
Ethnography is a fascinating field that delves into the study of cultures, societies, and human behaviors. An ethnographic essay allows writers to immerse themselves in different cultures and present findings in an engaging manner. If you’re struggling to pinpoint the right topic, this guide will walk you through some brilliant ideas and explain how to make your choice.
How to Choose the Best Ethnographic Essay Topic?
Modern ethnographers often hone in on specific aspects of cultures rather than trying to cover everything. Some focus on particular nations based on ethnicity, language, or geography, while others might delve into aspects like migration, interethnic relations, or religion across multiple cultures. To choose a topic, follow these steps:
Identify a Specific Theme : Decide on a particular cultural element you wish to explore. For instance, if you’re interested in rituals, you could delve into traditional wedding ceremonies in a particular region.
Research : Before diving in, spend some time online familiarizing yourself with your chosen cultural area. This will help you narrow down your topic and ensure it’s unique.
Personal Connection : Choose a topic that resonates with you or that you have a personal interest in. It will make your writing process more enjoyable and your essay more compelling.
Top Ethnographic Essay Topics:
- Exploring professional and ethical differences in gender indicators.
- Delving into Egyptian funeral rites and their cultural significance.
- The role and significance of traditional calendar rituals.
- Migration patterns and ethnocultural adaptation in the Jewish Autonomous Region in recent decades.
- The historical and mythological roots of Korean ethnic identity.
- Preserving the traditional culture of Akha Thailand amid modernization.
- Unpacking ‘Englishness’ in contemporary Northern England.
- The roots and progression of Chinese tea culture.
- Linguistic diversity in Spain: Between theory and practice.
- The socio-anthropological study of youth political movements.
- The cultural significance of names in Japan.
- The Sociocultural Journey of Jews in the Jewish Autonomous Region.
- Re-emigration patterns in Israel at the turn of the century.
- The role of tolerance in multi-faith cultures.
- Challenges of globalization in today’s diverse world.
- Spatial behaviors in multi-ethnic youth groups.
- Internet resources and their role in ethnic discourse.
- Traditional gaming practices in Japanese culture.
- Collective identity territories in contemporary French discourse.
- The role and significance of puppets across cultures.
- Ethno-caste communities and their role in India’s traditional social organization.
- Unpacking Korean dance: Ethnic and cultural dimensions.
- Artistic expressions of early European farmers.
- The role of magic in traditional rituals.
- The pantheon of Ancient Greek deities: A study in typology and personification.
- Role-playing games as a modern subculture.
- The cultural significance of women’s tattoos.
- Traditional Micronesian shipping: An ethnohistoric perspective.
- Female deities in Central Asian religions and worldviews.
- The significance of animals in traditional cultures.
Cultural Practices and Rituals
- The significance of coming-of-age rituals in indigenous Australian tribes.
- Wedding traditions and their symbolic meanings in Southeast Asia.
- Culinary customs: Exploring the communal dining practices in the Middle East.
- The role of music and dance in West African ceremonies.
- Birth and naming ceremonies in Native American cultures.
Language and Communication
- Sign language communities and their cultural significance in the U.S.
- The oral storytelling traditions of the Maasai tribe.
- How language preservation efforts shape cultural identity among the Welsh.
- The evolution and modernization of the Gaelic language in Ireland.
- The intricate art of Inuit throat singing and its societal implications.
Religion and Spirituality
- Voodoo practices in Haiti: Beyond the misconceptions.
- The intricate temple rituals of Balinese Hinduism.
- Shamanic practices and their role in Mongolian tribal communities.
- The blending of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism in the Philippines.
- Pilgrimage trails and their socio-cultural importance in Tibetan Buddhism.
Economic and Social Structures
- The role of marketplaces in shaping community ties in Morocco.
- Barter trade systems and their continued relevance in Papua New Guinea.
- Nomadic lifestyles and economic adaptations among the Bedouins.
- The cultural significance of cowrie shells as currency in ancient Africa.
- Traditional and modern coexistence: The tech hubs of Bangalore amidst age-old practices.
Art and Aesthetics
- The cultural and spiritual significance of Polynesian tattoo art.
- Maori wood carvings: A story of ancestry and legends.
- The evolution of sari designs and weaving techniques in India.
- The symbolism behind Native American totem poles.
- Balinese mask-making: A blend of craft, drama, and spirituality.
Core Themes in Ethnography:
When considering your essay, you might want to explore some of these overarching themes:
- The main goals and categories of ethnography.
- The impact of the terrestrial environment on human development.
- The intricate relationship between language and cultural traits.
- The unique religious beliefs across global societies.
- A study of paganism versus global religions.
- An insight into primitive beliefs and regional religions.
- The daily lives and traditions of different ethnic groups.
- The history and significance of ethnonyms.
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200 Original Ethnographic Essay Topics
Ethnography is a qualitative study field that investigates socio-cultural relations in a specific human community. The research methods involve fieldwork and participant observation. That means that ethnographers must immerse themselves in everyday life of the people they’re studying. Thus, researchers interview and regard the locals while documenting the data about them and their social aspects.
This field is crucial for anthropology and the creation of anthropological theories. Through ethnography, we can document the range of people’s livelihoods, cultures, and practices. It allows us to observe, examine, and empathize with different human experiences.
If you have studied ethnography, you probably know this is a very extensive subject. In this article, our team has collected ethnographic essay topics and research titles. We also listed tips to help you explore and approach your academic paper. You can browse through them as you decide on the best ethnography topic.
🔝 Top 21 Ethnography Topic Examples
- 🔎 Interesting Research Topics
- 📊 Topic Ideas for Comparative Essays
💻 Digital Ethnography Topics
- ❓ Ethnographic Research Questions
📝 Ethnographic Essay: Plan of Action
- The homeless population in the UK.
- Global Diversity: Importance of Cultural Differences .
- Cultural practices of the Hadza people.
- Culture and Diversity in Education .
- Evolution of the Spanish language in Mexico.
- Literary Techniques and Ethnicity Role in Screenwriting .
- Differences between Chinese and Indian parents.
- Tattoo significance of the Maori.
- Culture, Globalization, and Intercultural Adaptation .
- Jewish immigrants in the West.
- Essential Elements of Ethnography .
- Nursing home culture in the US.
- The purpose of ethnography.
- Impact of Culture on the American Family System and Structure .
- Rituals of the Japanese tea ceremony.
- Burial rites of the Toraja people.
- American Culture Reflection in Sport .
- The struggles of the Muslim population in France.
- Culture and Representations: Why Culture and Representation Matter .
- Religious practices of American Buddhists.
- Ethnic Groups and Discrimination .
🔎 Interesting Examples of Ethnographic Research Topics
- The social dynamics of a small business owner’s community.
- The cultural practices of Zoroastrian communities.
- The Effects of Diverse Culture of a Business in UAE .
- Does globalization impact the cultural traditions of indigenous tribes?
- The daily life of a group of street vendors in a city.
- Anthropology: The Culture of the People of River Front .
- The impact of gentrification on a neighborhood’s community.
- The cultural differences between various generations within a family.
- Discrimination and marginalization as experienced by the furry subculture .
- The Cultural Diversity- Tool That Influences Organizational Culture .
- The relationships and communication patterns in an office setting.
- What role do social media play in toddler development?
- Human Behavior and Culture: The Relationship Analysis .
- The impact of tourism on the culture of Australian aboriginal tribes.
- The social dynamics of an international university .
- Ancient Rome: History and Culture .
- Social adaptation and communication patterns exhibited by international students.
- The role of traditions in the daily life of an indigenous village.
- The impact of technology on social interactions in underdeveloped nations.
- Academic Motivation: Ethnic Teaching in Dutch Schools .
- Perspectives of Amish voluntary converts on modern technological development.
- The cultural differences between rural and urban areas of Russia.
- Culture, Cultural Identity and Related Phenomena .
- The impact of immigration on the cultural dynamics in Germany.
- The role of gender in social interactions within Muslim communities.
- The use of music as a coping mechanism for individuals experiencing trauma or mental illness.
- ‘Native Americans: Traditional Healing’ .
- The social dynamics of the Knotfest music festival .
- The role of sports in community building in Argentina.
- The Influence of Globalization on Arab Culture .
- The evolution of music festival culture in the United States over the past 50 years.
- Does music contribute to shaping the gender identities of American adolescents?
- Ethnicity and Religion Impact on the Second Language Acquisition of Muslims Males .
- The impact of mobilization on warfare perspectives in the Russian population.
- Heritage and Culture in African American Literature .
- The use of music as a tool for social activism and political resistance.
- The impact of social media on the spread of Islamic fundamentalism.
- The cultural practices and traditions of Native American holidays.
- Celebration of Eid Al-Fitr: Its Importance, Traditions, and Meaning .
- Investigating gender and power dynamics within Amish households.
- The role of anonymity in the construction of “alcoholic” identity.
- The role of religion in anonymous alcoholics’ recovery.
- White Non-Hispanics: Ethnic Groups Discrimination Immigration .
- Examining the role of identity performance in LGBTQ+ online communities.
- Organizational Culture and Diversity Within the Modern MNC .
- The role of traditional healers in Afro-Caribbean religious communities.
- Religious attitudes within Death and Black Metal communities.
- The cultural practices and traditions of QAnon members.
- The significance of faith for LGBTQ+ individuals within conservative religious communities.
- Ethnic Identity in Asian American Fiction Authors .
📊 Ethnography Topic Ideas for Comparative Essays
- How do wedding traditions differ in China and the US?
- Comparing Mexican and American neighborhoods.
- Multicultural vs. Citizenship Education .
- Different attitudes toward the afterlife between Christians and Hindus.
- How have school rules changed over the last 20 years?
- Race and Ethnic Gangs in Chicago vs. Los Angeles .
- Women’s roles in matriarchal and patriarchal societies.
- Comparison of gender roles in Western and Eastern cultures.
- Critical features of American and Chinese fairy tales.
- Cohabitation Versus Traditional Marriages .
- Popular children’s games in the US and Australia.
- How does street design differ in American and European cities?
- Comparing business etiquette in the US and Japan.
- The Parisian Culture: European and Islamic Cultures .
- Differences in mealtime traditions between America and China.
- Dress codes in American and Japanese schools.
- Comparison of soccer and baseball fans.
- Tradition and Innovation in Chinese Visual Arts .
- Differences in socializing of homeschoolers and traditional school students.
- Comparing video gaming practices of children and adults.
- Differences Between Slavery and Indentured Servitude .
- A typical day for families with and without children.
- Analysis of Cultures: Deaf Culture, White Culture, and Black Culture .
- Urban parks in New York City and Shanghai.
- Family meals in single-parent and two-parent families.
- Differences in leisure time between young men and women.
- Illegal Immigration: Arizona v. United States Case .
- Shopping habits of Millennials and Baby Boomers.
- Concepts of beauty in ancient Greece and modern America.
- Hobbies popular among single and married people.
- Emmett Scott High School’s Social vs. Academic Culture .
- Shopping experiences of people with and without visual impairments.
- Comparing New Year celebrations in the US and China .
- A typical day for a rural and urban resident.
- Modern vs. Traditional or Alternative Medicine .
- Caregiving practices in African American versus Hispanic communities.
- Differences between Japanese and American restaurant culture.
- Cultural and Linguistic Differences in Education .
- Comparing sports of Native and modern Americans.
- The life of Germans before and after World War II.
- Differences Between the Brazilian and American Cultures .
- Differences in parenting practices between the US and China.
- How does humor differ in Western and Eastern cultures?
- Comparing attitudes toward immigrants in the US and Russia.
- Different perceptions of motherhood in Eastern and Western cultures.
- Egypt Families in Changed and Traditional Forms .
- Principles and practice of digital ethnography .
- Application of modern technologies to social study through digital ethnography.
- Advice on conducting digital ethnography during pandemics.
- Three lies of digital ethnographies.
- Addressing the Cultural Disconnect in Online Learning for First Nations Students in Canada .
- Digital ethnography in a group project: Ethical considerations.
- Electronic ethnography and media usage.
- Digital ethnography to strengthen empirical reasoning.
- Evaluation of a Digital Library: A Case Study .
- Medical students using Twitter for professional development: A digital ethnography.
- Questioning “digital ethnography” in the age of omnipresent computers.
- Modern ethnographic digital techniques for social research .
- The Relationship Between Culture and Technology .
- Research on the third sector using digital ethnography.
- The social network on the dark web using digital ethnography.
- Foreignism, Media, Imperialism Influence on Culture .
- In the era of information warfare, digital ethnography.
- Using embedded visual techniques to reveal consumer values considering digital ethnography.
- Methodological approaches in the digital ethnography of young culture.
- Influence of Culture and Technology on the Stage Design .
- Cybercrime research using digital ethnography: Nomadic digital ethnography and engagement.
- Millennials, young people, and international research collectives.
- Digital Knowledge Platforms Versus Traditional Education Systems .
- COVID-19 pandemic digital ethnography.
- The use of digital ethnography to improve the Erasmus+ mobility program.
- Teach for America’s digital ethnography.
- Social Networks Trends for Reducing Language Barriers .
- A mixed-methods approach to digital ethnography using semantic social networks.
- Conducting ethnographic studies in the digital era.
- Case studies, ideas, and concepts related to digital ethnography.
- Popular Culture, Commercialization and Industrialization .
- Best practice guidelines for digital ethnography in intercultural professional communication .
- Digital ethnography and online gaming.
- Online learning as a digital ethnography of virtual social distance.
- Digital ethnographic methodologies in residential settings: Methodological and ethical considerations .
- Understanding how faculty members use digital ethnography for professional development .
- Principles of Museum in Contemporary and Digital Art .
- Analyzing trends socio-computationally to comprehend digital ethnography online videos.
- Stand-up comedy’s perspective on racism: A digital ethnography of Netflix.
- The study of language, gender, and sexuality using digital ethnography.
- Social Media Role in Promoting Social Change .
- Cross-cultural digital ethnography interpretation: The role of the religious context.
- A digital ethnography of Instagram : likes, hashtags, comments, and publics.
❓ Examples of Ethnographic Research Questions
- Do indigenous populations’ experiences differ in the US and Australia?
- How can Eastern and Western cultures enrich each other?
- What Is the Effect of Music on Culture?
- What are the challenges faced by young and older immigrants?
- How can society facilitate social justice for Australian Indigenous people?
- What are the dietary patterns of Western and Eastern cultures?
- What Are the Immigration and Ethic Relations in the US?
- How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect ethnic minority groups?
- What are the ethical issues associated with ethnographic research?
- How did the Japanese occupation influence Korean traditions?
- How Do Refugees Affect the Host Country?
- What are the ethnic identities of children from immigrant families?
- How do cultures worldwide differ regarding shame, guilt, and fear?
- How Do Various Races and Ethnicities View the Library?
- What are the examples of social injustice towards Indigenous populations?
- How do history and ethnography complement each other?
- What Are the Changes in Pop Culture?
- What are the experiences of Chinese students in Western universities?
- How do immigrant families maintain the traditions of their cultures?
- What Are the Origins of Hip-Hop Culture?
- What are the healing practices of Latin American ethnic groups?
- How do Mexican immigrants interact with the US healthcare system?
- Wha Is the Nature of the Racial and Ethnic Inequality?
- What are the history and current state of ethnographic research?
- How do refugees from African countries adjust in Europe?
- What’s the Importance of Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Competence in Nursing?
- What are the specifics of Mexican American ethnicity ?
- How does Amazonian brew ayahuasca help in addressing substance addiction?
- What are the three ethnic groups prevalent in the US?
- What Are the Pressures for and Against a Common EU Immigration Policy?
- How does ethnographic research help in understanding different cultures?
- What can American citizens learn from Chinese culture?
- What challenges do Latin American immigrants face in the US?
- What Are the Racial, Ethnic, Cultural and Linguistic Issues in Psychology?
- What do US citizens know about ethnic minority groups’ experiences?
- What does workplace spirituality mean for Indian employees?
- What is Korean individuals’ migration decision-making regarding the US?
- Wha Is the Connection Between Interracial Marriages and Immigration?
- What obstacles are faced by English as a Second Language students ?
- Why do Indigenous people in Australia have trouble accessing water?
Before writing an academic paper, you should have a clear plan. It is especially beneficial for ethnographic essays, as it is a complex study field. Below, we have described how to approach this assignment.
Things to Consider
- After choosing your ethnography topic, the first step is to ask yourself why it matters . Consider what you are attempting to achieve by writing your paper. Who will be your audience? What do you want them to learn?
- Once you have this in mind, write down the questions you hope to answer with your research. They will help you keep your essay or research paper focused.
- Take note of your pre-existing assumptions about your topic. Everyone has personal biases. It is essential to be aware of them when writing an ethnography essay.
Things to Do
- Thorough research is essential to writing a successful paper. It is best to refer to first-hand accounts , which offer the most insight. However, secondary sources can also be valuable for background reading. You can use our online summary generator to save time reading through them.
- Try to find authors with different perspectives . This way, you will likely get a well-rounded impression of the chosen topic.
- Pay attention to how the writers refer to and describe the people they study. You should always question their findings and keep track of their own biases.
Thank you for reading this article. We hope you have managed to find a good ethnography topic idea for your paper. Need a little help putting together your essay title or research question? Try out our handy paraphraser tool !
- What is Ethnography? – Anthropology@Princeton, Princeton University
- Ethnographic Research – The University of Virginia
- Ethnography – Writing Studio, Thompson Writing Program, Duke University
- What Is Ethnographic Research? — National Park Service
- Ethnography: Challenges and Opportunities — BMJ Journals
- Ethnographic Study: Qualitative Studies — GOV.UK
88 Ethnographic Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
🏆 best ethnographic topic ideas & essay examples, 📌 interesting topics to write about ethnographic, 👍 good essay topics on ethnographic, ❓ ethnographic research questions, 💯 free ethnographic essay topic generator.
Ethnographic essays are an excellent way to show your understanding of the science and the relationships that form a particular development or situation. You have to display your knowledge of anthropology and how it influences a particular population group based on a variety of circumstances.
There are many factors that can affect a group of people, including their geographic location, climate, relationships with other groups, numbers, and more. As such, compiling them to form a logical conclusion can be an overwhelming task.
The complex relationships between different variables may appear relevant when they are not and vice versa. However, there are several tips that will let you write an outstanding essay.
You should try to determine the root causes behind the formation of a particular culture or phenomenon and work outwards from them. For example, overpopulation does not generally occur without a definite reason, as human populations tend to regulate themselves.
Once you identify that it is present, search for causes such as immigration, poverty, or a sudden removal of a threat. After you identify the reason, you can mention it in your essay before overpopulation and use the two to develop a logical argument.
In doing so, you will establish a link and introduce a structure to your essay. The relationships may even provide you with ethnographic essay ideas that you may explore in detail.
Here are some tips for your writing process:
- Write a clear and concise thesis that will describe the topic of your essay and include it at the end of the introduction. It will help the reader understand what you are discussing early on and evaluate your arguments.
- Try to focus on one specific option among different ethnographic essay topics and have every point you make support it. The goal of the essay is defend ideas, and deviations into unrelated matters serve as distractions. The reader will not appreciate a deviation from the subject matter into unknown territory.
- Separate the body of your essay into sections with concise and descriptive titles. A structure that divides the paper by topics makes navigation easier in case the reader wants to revisit your essay later.
- Remember that you are writing about ethnography, the study of cultures. While it may be tempting to concentrate on the circumstances of a specific group, your goal is to explain its practices and traditions. As such, you have to provide concrete examples of how a behavior emerged to suit the population’s needs.
- Make sure to cite relevant scholarly research whenever you want to make a statement of fact. Today’s science is founded on the achievements of past researchers, and their findings should not be taken as universal truths.
These considerations will help you improve your essay while you write it, reducing the workload and letting you achieve better results. The paper you will produce by following the tips will be easy to read and comprehend and show your understanding of the topic.
It will also demonstrate that you have studied the relevant sources and obtained accurate data for the formation of your conclusions.
However, you may struggle to write an essay from nothing using just these suggestions, as they require that you have some notion of the ideas you will discuss. For inspiration, visit IvyPanda to find ethnographic essay examples and other useful paper samples!
- Twin Oaks Intentional Community Ethnographic Analysis It was through field work that the community was noted as one of the intentional communities. One of the main lessons learnt was their effort to bring gender equality in the community.
- Ethnographic reflection Mixing the scientific and humanistic approaches and implementing the anthropological framework and the concept of the bio-cultural triad for covering various sides of life of Beaver community, Brody uses dialogic procedures for depicting and explaining […]
- Ethnographic Field Notes from Starbucks The two large supermarkets, the large pharmacy, the three playgrounds, the community garden, the eclectic shopping and night life of South Street itself, the mural art of Isaiah Zagar, and other attractions, all pull a […]
- Ethnographic Research: Coming of Age in Samoa Considering Margaret Mead’s ethnography, Coming of Age in Samoa, it is possible to say that dwelling upon that society she paid much attention to religion, education, upbringing and relation to each other within a family, […]
- The Significance of Ethnographic Observation Thus, Arthur concentrates on the role of women in the use of lithics and the role of females in the development of Prehistoric communities, whereas Sillitoe and Hardy study the use of stone tools and […]
- Cheyenne Indians History and Culture Furthermore, it was to emphasize the unique powers and the superiority of the chief priests and the prophets in the community.
- Ethnographic Research Methods Participant observation can be defined as a qualitative method in ethnology research that is used by researchers in the areas of cultural anthropology in which the researcher in given the opportunity to get a close […]
- Ethnographic State in India He stated that their ignorance of the customs and beliefs of the Indian people had a hit against the British and that this had resulted to a distant loss of administrative power to British government.
- Kmart Department Stores: Ethnographic Study During the meeting, much attention was paid to the particular features of communication between the meeting participants in order to understand the aspects of the environment, characteristics of individuals, their interactions, and the presented culture.
- Navajo Ethnographic and Ethnological Studies The story is preserved in myths and is recounted in the ceremony known as ‘blessing way’ which is the foundation of the Navajo way of life.
- Mayan Ethnographic Interpretation: Traditions and Rituals According to The Mayan culture, the human body was viewed as a combination of the body and the souls. This means that the blood could communicate to the inner and the outer environment of the […]
- Mesoamerican Ethnographic Interpretation The civilization of these people faced strong influences from the people in the non-Maya cultures which include the Olmecs of Mexico and the Izapa cultures of people who lived in the Pacific coast.
- The Kurds Culture: An Ethnographic Study The most popular of the two dialects is the Kurmanji, it is the language of communication for most of the Kurds today.
- Mayan Culture in Ethnographic Interpretation The Mayan elders were charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the traditions of the people and overseeing all the cultural practices.
- Hong Kong Street Food in Ethnographic Studies Bronislaw Malinowski is often cited as one of the first practitioners of this method during his research of the people of Papua New Guinea.
- Tourism Management as an Ethnographic Theme Thus, as it is stated in some of the interview, tourists generally expect the attitude of obeisance towards them, and the workers of the tourism sphere feel themselves as the obedient servants.
- Ethnographic Interview of the Costa Rican People The analysis of the social environment is the important aspect of realizing the cultural background and the social problems of the clients.
- Ethnographic Prospects in Teaching and Learning Such a controversial view on the approaches taken in the research complies with the changeability of the social life at the moment.
- Clement Restaurant: Ethnographic Description The ethnographic analysis will be added with a demographic review of the region in order to identify whether the business success is stipulated by the ethnographic background of the restaurants, or the population that is […]
- Ethnographic Design: Characteristics According to Abalos, “ethnography is the in depth study of naturally occurring behavior within a culture or a social group; it seeks to understand the relationship between culture and behavior, with culture referring to beliefs, […]
- Ethnographic Design: Types The investigator is required to define the characteristics of the society under study. Abalos, argues that “critical ethnographic studies are a type of ethnographic research in which the author is interested in advocating for the […]
- Ethnographic and Phenomenological Approaches to Research Ethnographic research is an approach to data collection and analysis that aims at evaluating and categorizing human experiences through the lens of the participants’ cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
- A Critical Review of Ethnographic Analysis The difference between these two techniques is transparent: in the case of open observation, the group of respondents knows that the researcher is conducting an analysis and is aware of its goals, whereas covert observation […]
- Understanding the Science of Ethnographic Through Oneirology
- An Overview of the Dream State and the Concept of Human Ethnographic
- Understanding the Unconcious Ethnographic
- The Beauty Of Ethnographic: How Dreams Drive The Individual
- The Skeptical Ethnographic Argument of Rene Descartes, and the Priori and the Posteriori
- Ethnographic And Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- An Overview of the Controversy of Ethnographic, a Cognitive Activity During Sleep
- Animal Ethnographic And Substantiation A Connection To Humanity
- The Psychological Theories Of The Function Of Ethnographic
- The Ethnographic and Traditional Aboriginal Spirituality
- Sleeping and Ethnographic and Theories of Sleep
- Ethnographic Is Known As The Journey Your Mind
- The Centrality of the Ethnographic and Its Importance for Aboriginal Spirituality
- The Benefits Of Lucid Ethnographic
- Procrastination and Day Ethnographic
- Comparing and Contrasting Psychological Theories of Ethnographic
- Ethnographic as Significant Process in Human Life Experience
- The Use of Illusion Argument, Ethnographic Argument, and Evil Genius Argument by Descartes
- Varieties of Lucid Ethnographic Experience, by Stephen Laberge
- Day Ethnographic in the Middle of the Summer Heat
- Ethnographic Various Amount Of People Experiences Different Effects
- Dreams, Ethnographic and Phases of Sleep
- Freud’s Theory of Ethnographic and Repression
- Synchroncities in the History of Paranormal Ethnographic
- Dreams and Ethnographic Nightmares in Children
- Gender And Ethnographic In Mapuche Shamanistic Practices
- Phenomenology of Ethnographic
- Descartes’ Meditations: Ethnographic and Evil Demon Arguments
- How Is the Power of Dreams and Ethnographic in the Novel of Mice and Men
- Difference Between Astral Projection And Lucid Ethnographic
- The Significance of Land to the Ethnographic for Aboriginal People and the Impact of the Land Rights Movement
- The Importance of Ethnographic and Sleeping
- Ethnographic Can Bring Misery in the Great Gatsby By F. Scott
- Exploring Causes of Sleep Difficulty and Ethnographic Problems
- The Importance of Ethnographic and the Sub-Conscious
- What Are the Problems and Constraints of Making Films on Ethnographic?
- What Importance May the Sex of the Anthropologist Have on the Ethnographic Process?
- What Does Ethnography Mean?
- What Is an Ethnographic Example?
- What Is Considered Ethnographic?
- What Is Ethnography Used For?
- What Is the Difference Between Ethnography and Anthropology?
- Why Is Ethnography Critical in Research?
- What Is Ethnography in Sociology?
- What Is Ethnography in Social Research?
- What Kind of Research Is Ethnography?
- What Is a Synonym for Ethnography?
- Is Ethnography a Research Design?
- How Do You Use Ethnography in a Sentence?
- When Did Ethnology Appear?
- How Does Ethnography Work in Real Life?
- What Are the Critical Characteristics of Ethnography?
- What Is the Difference Between Phenomenology and Ethnography?
- Who Was the First Ethnographer?
- Who Is the Father of Ethnography?
- How Do Ethnologists Study Culture?
- What Is the Difference Between Archaeology and Ethnography?
- What Is the Ethnological Argument?
- Is Ethnography a Theory?
- What Is the Weakness of Ethnography?
- What Is the Difference Between Ethnography and Qualitative Research?
- What Are the Problems With Traditional Ethnographic Film-Making?
- What Is Relationship Between Students and Teachers in Ethnographic?
- What Are the Pros and Cons of Ethnographic Reflexivity?
- What Are the Defining Activities and Principles of Ethnographic Research?
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- Culture Topics
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- Behaviorism Research Ideas
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Possible Research Questions: Ethnography and Case Study
- Abubakar Binji
- October 14, 2019
- Healthcare Research
Possible Research Questions:
- Research on patients’ attitudes toward improving gaps and quality of care in the rural health centers (Ethnography).
- Research on nurses’ attitude and nature of care in the selected rural healthcare centers (Ethnography).
Ethnography is a research method central to knowing the world from the standpoint of its social relations. The approach of ethnography will work in the above two versions of possible research questions. The approach of ethnography is to utilize oneself into the target’s environment while understanding the perceptions and goals that emerge in the process of the research (LeCompte & Goetz, 1982). Thirdly, ethnography has its foundation in the cultural anthropology in which, instead of relying or depending on conducting research via interviews or focus group, researchers experience the environment as participant bystander.
Another Possible Research Question:
- Explore patients’ perspectives in relation to Telehealth (specific factors) in closing health care disparity in rural areas (Case Study).
Case study is a research approach common in social science. It is based on an in-depth investigation of a single individual, group, or event that maybe explanatory or descriptive in nature. Case study is an example of qualitative research methodology. The reason for the use of this research method how it involves multiple set of data collections for the research project (Baxter & Jack, 2008). Secondly, a case study allows profound usage of multiple stages of data sources (Baxter & Jack, 2008). The data collection approaches for case study include interviews, documentation, and possible used of field notes. For instance, another motive for the use of case study is the focus on particular problem of patients’ attitudes faced by the study, and from specific viewpoints (Baxter & Jack, 2008). As a component of empirical inquiry, the choice of case study is best suited for a research approach that seeks to answer questions like “how” or “why”( Baxter & Jack, 2008).
The currently-researched conceptual framework that appealed but aligned with the choice of case study, and that fascinated vital interests and its relationship to research topics is the SERVQUAL model. SERVQUAL model is a measure of service quality. SERVQUAL is effective as a gap model; aimed at accessing the service quality of general businesses, and healthcare delivery. Moreover, SERVQUAL existed as a relevant model in the healthcare field due to understanding people’s emotional and practical response to illness, and the receptiveness of health providers to their needs ( Jin, Qian & Zhu, 2013).
Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice researchers. The qualitative report , 13(4), 544-559.
Jin, S., Qian, S., & Zhu, H. (2013). Identifying key factors of patient satisfaction based on SERVQUAL and DEMATEL. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology , 48(2), 973-978. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.300.4212&rep=rep1&type=pdf
LeCompte, M. D., & Goetz, J. P. (1982). Problems of reliability and validity in ethnographic research. Review of educational research , 52(1), 31-60.
Author: Abubakar Binji
Abubakar Binji is an expert in news publishing, author and editor of various research articles and journals; acquired extensive experiences in the field of healthcare management, leadership, community health, and healthcare data analytics. He, Abubakar Binji has engaged in various scholarly research in United States of America and abroad.
YOUTHS IN DEVELOPMENT STEP DOWN REPORT WORKSHEET
- Abdulmalik Binji
- June 17, 2021
Prevalence of cervical cancer – A 6 year Retrospective Study in Jigawa State, Nigeria
- January 22, 2021
- Health Theories
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Quantitative Research Methods
Potential Challenges a public health professional may face when collecting qualitative data for community health assessment
- July 4, 2020
Qualitative and Quantitative Research
- Healthcare Ethics
- Quality of Care
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Social Change
Public-Private Health Partnership
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Where Companies Want Employees to Work — and Where People Actually Want to Work
- Radostina Purvanova
- Alanah Mitchell
Nine employee archetypes can inform organizations’ in-office, remote, and hybrid strategies.
Companies are trying various strategies to adjust to a “new normal” in work modalities, ranging from fully in-office to fully remote to a mix of both. A comprehensive study covering interviews and ethnographic research within three major organizations, each employing a distinct work strategy, has unearthed a fascinating discovery: the intersection of company strategies and individual work preferences culminate in nine distinct employee personas. From the Avatar in a remote-first setting to the Producer in an office-forward environment, these personas reflect how alignment or misalignment between organizational approach and personal preference impacts an employee’s outlook and behavior. With these insights, organizations are encouraged to recognize, understand, and strategically address these personas to foster a harmonious and productive workplace.
Contemporary narratives depict the workplace as an arena where managers keen on reinstating office routines clash with employees who cherish their work-from-home arrangements. That’s catchy but inaccurate. Rather, the modern workplace is a testbed where organizations are presently experimenting with different approaches to a “new normal.” Some are indeed throwing down the gauntlet via an office-forward strategy to preserve company culture. But others are embracing reinvention via a remote-first strategy to provide maximal employee flexibility. Still others are threading the needle via a hybrid strategy to synergize culture and flexibility.
- RP Radostina Purvanova is a professor of leadership and management at Drake University’s Zimpleman College of Business.
- AM Alanah Mitchell is the associate dean of academic affairs and Aliber Distinguished Professor of Information Systems in the Zimpleman College of Business at Drake University.
15 Great Ethnography Examples
Ethnography is a research method that involves embedding yourself in the environment of a group or community and recording what you observe. It often involves the researcher living in the community being studied. This leads to a much richer understanding of the people being examined than doing quantitative research.
The thing I love about ethnography is that it paints a thorough picture of people’s lives. It is, in its own way, the most raw, honest, and detailed form of academic research.
In my previous blog posts, I have discussed my admiration for thick description as a way to pierce beyond stereotypes and view the world through the lens of our subjects.
And there’s no doubt that ethnographic research has helped us learn so much more about how people navigate their cultural circumstances.
Below are some examples of ethnography – both abstract (with the hope that it helps students think about some ways they can do ethnography) and real-life (with the hope that you will read some inspiring ethnographic studies).
To start, here are some ways you could potentially do ethnography:
- Ethnography of Indigenous People: There are many examples of ethnographic studies that look at indigenous cultures and how they’re similar or different to Western culture. Beware of the trap of colonialism during this work.
- Mundane Ethnography: Remember, ethnography doesn’t have to happen in a far off land. You can do autoethnography where you study yourself , or a study of somewhere very banal, like your workplace or home.
- Educational Ethnography: There is a rich history of teachers and researchers using ethnographic methods in classrooms to explore how learning happens.
- Ethnography in a Shop: Be the ethnographer within a supermarket by interacting with the people there on a daily basis (maybe as the cashier) and observe how people interact and collide within the space.
- Working-Class and Immigrant Ethnography: Many sociologists use ethnographic methods to take an inside look at how people on the margins of society grapple with global concepts like capitalism, globalization, and race.
- Digital Ethnography: Since the rise of the internet, there have been many researchers interested in the digital lives of people. Some of my favorite studies have revealed how we create our identities online.
My Favorite Ethnographic Research Books
1. learning to labour.
Author: Paul Willis
One of my favorite ethnographic works, Learning to Labour follows working-class ‘lads’ in the British Midlands as they participate in counter-cultural and ‘anti-social’ behaviors.
The most fascinating aspect of this book is the rich elucidation of how these working-class boys reject narratives of upward mobility and revel in rejecting mental work at school. But at the same time, they create their own value hierarchies.
In fact, the boys don’t even leave school when they are legally allowed, despite giving a veneer of being anti-school. Instead, they remain there, because there is their own social and even educational value they can get out of it. They prize the manual labor they do in class and, after leaving school, continue to prize physical labor in the workplace while deriding and dismissing mental labor.
2. Being Maori in the City
Author: Natacha Gagné
When indigenous people live in urban environments, their authenticity as indigenous peoples is often brought into question.
Thus, Gagné’s examination of Maori identity in Auckland presents a valuable insight into how people continue to live out their indigenous identities in a changing, urbanized, and colonized landscape.
Gagné spent two years living with Maori people in Auckland and highlights in the book how their identity continues to be central to how they interact both with one another and with broader society.
3. Ethnography of a Neoliberal School
Author: Garth Stahl
While a wide range of academic research has looked at how neoliberalism can affect education, an ethnographic approach allows Stahl to demonstrate how it turns up as lived experience.
Neoliberalism is an approach to governance that focuses on the corporatization of society. In education, this means that schools should be run like companies.
There is no better example, of course, than charter schools .
In my favorite chapter, Stahl demonstrates within one anonymized charter school how teachers are increasingly subjected to performance quotas, KPIs, and governance that narrow down the purpose of education and give them very little freedom to exercise their expertise and provide individualized support to their students.
4. Coming of Age in Samoa
Author: Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead’s groundbreaking ethnography, Coming of Age in Samoa , had implications for two important reasons:
- It highlighted the importance of feminist perspectives in ethnographic research.
- It challenged a universalizing stage-based conceptualization of human development.
Mead’s work was conducted at a time when the Western world was in a moral panic about adolescents’ stress and emotional behaviors. The prevailing idea – promoted mainly by male psychologists – was that most of those behaviors were a natural part of the developmental cycle.
Mead, however, saw that female Samoan adolescents had much different experiences of adolescence and would not have fitted into the western mold of how a female adolescent would behave or be treated.
The Samoan society’s liberal ideas around intimacy and the lower levels of academic stress placed on the girls meant they lived very different realities with far less stress and social pressure than their Western counterparts.
5. Ghetto at the Center of the World
Author: Gordon Mathews
Mathews’s Ghetto at the Center of the World explores a multiethnic high-density housing complex in Hong Kong.
While seen by many locals as a ghetto (despite its relative safety!), Mathews shows how the motley group of residents, migrants, and tourists in the building live rich lives at what appears to be ground zero of globalization.
For the people in the building, globalization has offered opportunities but hasn’t solved all their problems. Each person that Mathews follows has their own story of how they navigate a globalized world while maintaining hope for a better future.
Additional Influential Ethnographic Studies
- Argonauts of the Western Pacific – This study was notable because it presented a turn toward participant observation in ethnography rather than attempts at fly-on-the-wall objectivity.
- The Remembered Village – A study of caste systems in India, this study is most notable for its methodological influence. Srinivas, the author, lost his field notes, but he continued on with presenting his findings, causing widespread controversy about its methodological merits.
- Space and Society in Central Brazil – This study explores the experiences of the Panará indigenous people of Brazil as they attempt to secure protected space from the colonialization occurring around them. It’s notable for its insights into how the Panará people organize themselves both culturally and spatially.
- White Bound – This book follows two groups, a white anti-racist group and a white nationalist group, and explores how each deals with whiteness. While the groups have fundamentally different goals, even the anti-racist group continue to contribute to white privilege .
- City, Street and Citizen – Suzanne Hall’s study of the mundane city street explores how multiethnicity is played out in globalized cities. It is a fascinating look at how lives take place within shared spaces where social contact occurs.
Ethnography is, in my humble (and of course subjective) opinion, the most exciting form of primary research you can do. It can challenge assumptions, unpick social norms, and make us all more empathetic people.
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 102 Examples of Social Norms (List)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 15 Social Environment Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 15 Selective Perception Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Field Observation (Research Method): Definition and Examples
3 thoughts on “15 Great Ethnography Examples”
Thanks very much for that. I am an early childhood teacher, already published on the topic of bilingual and multilingual children in our sector. One of my lecturers has suggested an ethnographic study of some of our immigrant children. Not sure where to start with that, but this has put me in the right frame of mind. Thanks again
Any suggested topic on ethnographic research i can start with here in the hospital where i am working. I am a nurse for cardiovascular patients undergoing open heart surgeries.
As you’re in a high risk setting, you might be best asking your managers at the workplace about this one. You could also consider an autoethnography where you do a study on yourself within the settings.
Best of luck with the study.
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What is ethnographic research.
Ethnography is a research method that involves immersing oneself in the natural context of individuals to collect quantitative insights into their behavior and culture. This method emphasizes observation, engagement, and analysis of human experiences in real-world settings.
Ethnographic research is widely used in UX design since it provides detailed data about users' preferences and behaviors. This data is used to create products and services that meet the needs of diverse user groups. It also ensures user-centered and culturally sensitive design. Research of this type helps designers comprehend how users interact with technology in a range of settings. It also reveals areas that have the potential for growth.
While ethnographic research has several advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider, even more so when conducting ethnographic research in cross-cultural contexts. It's important for researchers to be aware of their own biases and to approach the culture being studied with respect and sensitivity.
Benefits and Limitations of Ethnographic Research
Thanks to its immersive nature, ethnographic research offers several advantages over other qualitative research methods, for example:
It enables researchers to understand the cultural context in which their subjects live, work, and interact.
It offers crucial insights into the factors that influence how individuals make decisions, act, and perceive their environment.
It allows for flexibility in data collection since researchers can adapt their methods as they go along and explore new areas of interest that may emerge during the study.
While ethnography can provide an understanding of human behavior and culture, researchers must be aware of its limitations and possible ethical concerns. Some of the most common challenges associated with ethnographic research include its time-consuming and expensive nature, the difficulty of addressing certain research questions or populations effectively, the potential language barriers, and the challenges to accessing the culture to study.
Still, this method reveals how different cultures operate and interact. For example, a study of workplace culture in Japan might show differences in communication styles or decision-making processes compared to a similar study conducted in the United States.
Ethnographic Research Methods
Ethnographic research is a qualitative research method to study human behavior and societies and culture.
The most common methods of ethnographic research are participant observation and interviews.
Participant Observation: The researcher immerses themselves in the natural environment of the people they study. They observe their behavior firsthand and may even participate in activities alongside them.
Interviews: The researcher conducts interviews with individuals from the culture of interest to understand how they perceive and experience their culture. These interviews can be structured (with a predefined or standardized set of questions) or unstructured (less formal conversations that allow the researcher to explore topics as they arise) and may be conducted one-on-one or in a group setting.
Ann Blandford, expert in qualitative user studies and professor of Human-Computer Interaction at University College London, explains the characteristics of a semi-structured interview:
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Examples of Ethnographic Research in Various Fields
© CIFOR, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Ethnographic research has been employed in several fields to understand human behavior and culture better. Here are some examples:
Anthropology: Anthropologists have long used ethnographic research to study different cultures worldwide. Margaret Mead is a well-known example of an ethnographic researcher who studied the people of Samoa, revealing important information about their social and cultural practices.
Sociology: Sociologists also use ethnographic research to understand social phenomena. For example, Erving Goffman's classic work The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life used participant observation to explore how individuals present themselves to others in everyday interactions.
Marketing: Ethnographic research is increasingly being used in marketing to gain insights into consumer behavior. For example, a company may conduct ethnographic research by observing consumers in a natural setting (such as a grocery store) to understand their purchasing decisions and what factors influence those decisions.
UX Design: Ethnographic research allows designers to understand their users' habits and behaviors deeply. For instance, a UX designer working on a travel booking platform might use ethnographic research to investigate how travelers plan and book their trips.
Ethical Considerations in Ethnographic Research
Ethnographic research involves observing individuals in their natural environment, which can raise ethical concerns. It's important for researchers to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of their studies and obtain informed consent from participants.
One fundamental consideration in ethnographic research is privacy. Researchers must take steps to protect the privacy of their subjects.
Obtain permission before taking photographs or recording conversations.
Be careful not to reveal personal information about subjects that could lead to their identification.
It’s also important to obtain informed consent from subjects before conducting any study activities. This means that people understand the study's purpose, what will be involved, and any potential risks or benefits. Ensure that any study does not cause harm or distress to subjects, either physically or emotionally. This may involve avoiding sensitive topics or situations that could trigger trauma.
The Role of Technology in Ethnographic Research
Technology has become an increasingly important tool for ethnographic research. Here are a few ways in which researchers use technology in ethnographic research:
Digital Recording: One of the most basic ways to use technology in ethnographic research is through digital recording. Researchers can use audio or video recording devices to capture conversations, interactions, and other observations.
Online Platforms: Social media is making it easier for researchers to observe and interact with people from all over the world, which can be especially useful when studying cultures that are difficult to access due to geography or political barriers.
Mobile Apps: Mobile apps can also be helpful tools for ethnographic research. For example, a researcher could develop an app that allows participants to record their daily activities and thoughts, offering unique perspectives on their behavior and experiences.
Virtual Reality: Virtual reality (VR) is another emerging technology with potential ethnographic research applications. VR allows researchers to create immersive environments that simulate real-world situations, allowing participants to interact with simulated objects and people as if they were actually there.
While technology can provide many benefits for ethnographic research, it's important for researchers also to consider its limitations. For example, relying too heavily on digital recordings may prevent researchers from noticing important nonverbal cues or context that may be lost when not observed directly in person. Additionally, some cultures may need more access or knowledge about specific technologies, making it difficult to use them in certain contexts.
Learn More about Ethnographic Research
Learn how to get better results from ethnographic research.
Explore when and how to conduct ethnographic research in different contexts.
Read this comprehensive guide to conducting ethnographic research .
Understand some of the key methods used in ethnography .
Literature on Ethnographic Research
Here’s the entire UX literature on Ethnographic Research by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:
Learn more about Ethnographic Research
Take a deep dive into Ethnographic Research with our course Mobile UX Strategy: How to Build Successful Products .
All open-source articles on Ethnographic Research
7 simple ways to get better results from ethnographic research.
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Picking Up Good Ideas For Ethnographic Essay Topics
Looking for ideas in your local area.
To help you think of ideas, it can be useful to look around in your local area at groups of people that might be interesting to study. Whether your paper is based on people of different ages, different ethnic groups, or any other shared characteristics, using a local group can be easier when it comes to researching for your paper.
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Thinking of ideas based on inspirational people
It may be that you want your ethnographic essay to be based on people of interest in the way that they have helped others. A good way of thinking of topics is to think of inspirational people that have helped you during your life, or helped others.
For example, you may wish to look at the nurses in a particular area or volunteers, or any other groups of people that do inspiring things. It could even be that you look at groups of people that have overcome adversity in their life, such as people who have suffered serious illnesses.
Getting ethnographic essay topic ideas from old papers
If youвЂ™re still unsure of what ideas to use for your paper, then a good solution is to look at prewritten papers. It could be that you source past papers that have been written by students from your university or college, or you could even look for free papers that are widely available online. Of course, if you choose to use topic ideas from old papers, it is important that you take care to make the title is unique as possible, so as not to put yourself at risk of plagiarism.
Whilst looking at old papers that other people have written, so as to help think of topic ideas for yourself, you can even get an idea of what research methods you can use and a wide variety of other information.
A list of ethnographic topics and titles
- A study of homeless people in the local area
- Career choices of people with higher IQs
- The lifestyle of competitive bodybuilders
- A study of the Italians and the health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle
- A study of the Welsh-speaking community in Chile
- A comparison of bi-lingual students and students who only speak one language
- Parenting practices in Finland
- Children of wealthy parents in the education system
- A look at the lives of people in a local retirement home
- How recovering alcoholics resist or give into temptation
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- What Is Ethnography? | Definition, Guide & Examples
What Is Ethnography? | Definition, Guide & Examples
Published on March 13, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 22, 2023.
Ethnography is a type of qualitative research that involves immersing yourself in a particular community or organization to observe their behavior and interactions up close. The word “ethnography” also refers to the written report of the research that the ethnographer produces afterwards.
Ethnography is a flexible research method that allows you to gain a deep understanding of a group’s shared culture, conventions, and social dynamics. However, it also involves some practical and ethical challenges.
Table of contents
What is ethnography used for, different approaches to ethnographic research, gaining access to a community, working with informants, observing the group and taking field notes, writing up an ethnography, other interesting articles.
Ethnographic research originated in the field of anthropology, and it often involved an anthropologist living with an isolated tribal community for an extended period of time in order to understand their culture.
This type of research could sometimes last for years. For example, Colin M. Turnbull lived with the Mbuti people for three years in order to write the classic ethnography The Forest People .
Today, ethnography is a common approach in various social science fields, not just anthropology. It is used not only to study distant or unfamiliar cultures, but also to study specific communities within the researcher’s own society.
For example, ethnographic research (sometimes called participant observation ) has been used to investigate football fans , call center workers , and police officers .
Advantages of ethnography
The main advantage of ethnography is that it gives the researcher direct access to the culture and practices of a group. It is a useful approach for learning first-hand about the behavior and interactions of people within a particular context.
By becoming immersed in a social environment, you may have access to more authentic information and spontaneously observe dynamics that you could not have found out about simply by asking.
Ethnography is also an open and flexible method. Rather than aiming to verify a general theory or test a hypothesis , it aims to offer a rich narrative account of a specific culture, allowing you to explore many different aspects of the group and setting.
Disadvantages of ethnography
Ethnography is a time-consuming method. In order to embed yourself in the setting and gather enough observations to build up a representative picture, you can expect to spend at least a few weeks, but more likely several months. This long-term immersion can be challenging, and requires careful planning.
Ethnographic research can run the risk of observer bias . Writing an ethnography involves subjective interpretation, and it can be difficult to maintain the necessary distance to analyze a group that you are embedded in.
There are often also ethical considerations to take into account: for example, about how your role is disclosed to members of the group, or about observing and reporting sensitive information.
Should you use ethnography in your research?
If you’re a student who wants to use ethnographic research in your thesis or dissertation , it’s worth asking yourself whether it’s the right approach:
- Could the information you need be collected in another way (e.g. a survey , interviews)?
- How difficult will it be to gain access to the community you want to study?
- How exactly will you conduct your research, and over what timespan?
- What ethical issues might arise?
If you do decide to do ethnography, it’s generally best to choose a relatively small and easily accessible group, to ensure that the research is feasible within a limited timeframe.
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There are a few key distinctions in ethnography which help to inform the researcher’s approach: open vs. closed settings, overt vs. covert ethnography, and active vs. passive observation. Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Open vs. closed settings
The setting of your ethnography—the environment in which you will observe your chosen community in action—may be open or closed.
An open or public setting is one with no formal barriers to entry. For example, you might consider a community of people living in a certain neighborhood, or the fans of a particular baseball team.
- Gaining initial access to open groups is not too difficult…
- …but it may be harder to become immersed in a less clearly defined group.
A closed or private setting is harder to access. This may be for example a business, a school, or a cult.
- A closed group’s boundaries are clearly defined and the ethnographer can become fully immersed in the setting…
- …but gaining access is tougher; the ethnographer may have to negotiate their way in or acquire some role in the organization.
Overt vs. covert ethnography
Most ethnography is overt . In an overt approach, the ethnographer openly states their intentions and acknowledges their role as a researcher to the members of the group being studied.
- Overt ethnography is typically preferred for ethical reasons, as participants can provide informed consent…
- …but people may behave differently with the awareness that they are being studied.
Sometimes ethnography can be covert . This means that the researcher does not tell participants about their research, and comes up with some other pretense for being there.
- Covert ethnography allows access to environments where the group would not welcome a researcher…
- …but hiding the researcher’s role can be considered deceptive and thus unethical.
Active vs. passive observation
Different levels of immersion in the community may be appropriate in different contexts. The ethnographer may be a more active or passive participant depending on the demands of their research and the nature of the setting.
An active role involves trying to fully integrate, carrying out tasks and participating in activities like any other member of the community.
- Active participation may encourage the group to feel more comfortable with the ethnographer’s presence…
- …but runs the risk of disrupting the regular functioning of the community.
A passive role is one in which the ethnographer stands back from the activities of others, behaving as a more distant observer and not involving themselves in the community’s activities.
- Passive observation allows more space for careful observation and note-taking…
- …but group members may behave unnaturally due to feeling they are being observed by an outsider.
While ethnographers usually have a preference, they also have to be flexible about their level of participation. For example, access to the community might depend upon engaging in certain activities, or there might be certain practices in which outsiders cannot participate.
An important consideration for ethnographers is the question of access. The difficulty of gaining access to the setting of a particular ethnography varies greatly:
- To gain access to the fans of a particular sports team, you might start by simply attending the team’s games and speaking with the fans.
- To access the employees of a particular business, you might contact the management and ask for permission to perform a study there.
- Alternatively, you might perform a covert ethnography of a community or organization you are already personally involved in or employed by.
Flexibility is important here too: where it’s impossible to access the desired setting, the ethnographer must consider alternatives that could provide comparable information.
For example, if you had the idea of observing the staff within a particular finance company but could not get permission, you might look into other companies of the same kind as alternatives. Ethnography is a sensitive research method, and it may take multiple attempts to find a feasible approach.
All ethnographies involve the use of informants . These are people involved in the group in question who function as the researcher’s primary points of contact, facilitating access and assisting their understanding of the group.
This might be someone in a high position at an organization allowing you access to their employees, or a member of a community sponsoring your entry into that community and giving advice on how to fit in.
However, i f you come to rely too much on a single informant, you may be influenced by their perspective on the community, which might be unrepresentative of the group as a whole.
In addition, an informant may not provide the kind of spontaneous information which is most useful to ethnographers, instead trying to show what they believe you want to see. For this reason, it’s good to have a variety of contacts within the group.
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The core of ethnography is observation of the group from the inside. Field notes are taken to record these observations while immersed in the setting; they form the basis of the final written ethnography. They are usually written by hand, but other solutions such as voice recordings can be useful alternatives.
Field notes record any and all important data: phenomena observed, conversations had, preliminary analysis. For example, if you’re researching how service staff interact with customers, you should write down anything you notice about these interactions—body language, phrases used repeatedly, differences and similarities between staff, customer reactions.
Don’t be afraid to also note down things you notice that fall outside the pre-formulated scope of your research; anything may prove relevant, and it’s better to have extra notes you might discard later than to end up with missing data.
Field notes should be as detailed and clear as possible. It’s important to take time to go over your notes, expand on them with further detail, and keep them organized (including information such as dates and locations).
After observations are concluded, there’s still the task of writing them up into an ethnography. This entails going through the field notes and formulating a convincing account of the behaviors and dynamics observed.
The structure of an ethnography
An ethnography can take many different forms: It may be an article, a thesis, or an entire book, for example.
Ethnographies often do not follow the standard structure of a scientific paper, though like most academic texts, they should have an introduction and conclusion. For example, this paper begins by describing the historical background of the research, then focuses on various themes in turn before concluding.
An ethnography may still use a more traditional structure, however, especially when used in combination with other research methods. For example, this paper follows the standard structure for empirical research: introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion.
The content of an ethnography
The goal of a written ethnography is to provide a rich, authoritative account of the social setting in which you were embedded—to convince the reader that your observations and interpretations are representative of reality.
Ethnography tends to take a less impersonal approach than other research methods. Due to the embedded nature of the work, an ethnography often necessarily involves discussion of your personal experiences and feelings during the research.
Ethnography is not limited to making observations; it also attempts to explain the phenomena observed in a structured, narrative way. For this, you may draw on theory, but also on your direct experience and intuitions, which may well contradict the assumptions that you brought into the research.
If you want to know more about statistics , methodology , or research bias , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
- Normal distribution
- Degrees of freedom
- Null hypothesis
- Discourse analysis
- Control groups
- Mixed methods research
- Non-probability sampling
- Quantitative research
- Ecological validity
- Rosenthal effect
- Implicit bias
- Cognitive bias
- Selection bias
- Negativity bias
- Status quo bias
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Ethnographic Research – Complete Guide with Examples
Published by Carmen Troy at August 14th, 2021 , Revised On August 29, 2023
What is Ethnographic Research?
Ethnography is a type of research where a researcher observes people in their natural environment.
Ethnographers spend time studying people and their day-to-day lives and cultural activities carefully. It takes a long-term commitment and exciting methods of data collection .
It has two unique features
- The researcher carries out ethnographic research in a natural environment.
- A researcher acts as a participant and researcher at the same time.
History of Ethnographic Research
During the period of colonialism, anthropology emerged as a formal and notable discipline. Anthropologists started to study traditional people and their cultures. There are many types of ethnographic studies used for various purposes.
Uses of Ethnographic Research
Ethnographic research has the following uses;
- Documentation of endangered cultures
- Studying distant or new cultures.
- Studying and observing people’s behaviour in a specific society or community over a more extended period with changing circumstances.
Example: Malinowski’s six years of research on the people of Trobriand islands in Melanesia.
Today ethnographic research is also used in social sciences.
Examples: Investigations done by detectives, police officers to solve any criminal mystery. Investigations are carried out to learn the history and details of culture, community, religion, or games. The research was performed to understand the social interactions of the people. Research to understand the roles of families and organisations.
Advantages of Conducting Ethnographic Research
There are various methods of research based on the requirements and aim of the investigation. Here is the list of the key features of ethnographic research
- You can conduct ethnographic research alone.
- It allows you to observe the changes in people’s behaviour and culture over time and record it.
- You can conduct it in any place.
- It allows you to be a part of the community as a participant and take a close look at their lifestyle.
- You can gather a piece of detailed information with abundant experience, which helps you in further research.
- It provides the opportunity and pleasure of adventure as well as research.
- You don’t need to spend anything on the setup and equipment.
- You can learn to use any language of your choice during the research.
- You can find out about historical changes and events.
- You can use and enhance your skills and knowledge.
- You are solely responsible for experimenting.
- You get the opportunity to get to know the underlying realities and opinions of the people.
- You get the chance to focus on the verbal and non-verbal behavior of the people.
Disadvantages of Ethnographic Research
- It requires a lot of time.
- It is challenging to conclude the results.
- The researcher needs to work alone.
- It requires patience, skills to interact with people, and staying within the community as a community member.
- Personal safety and privacy would be at risk.
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What to do Before Starting your Ethnographic Research?
You need to identify your research question(s) and decide the mode of data collection. It’s better to choose a small group of people and aim to complete your studies within a short period.
It would help if you asked a few questions to yourself.
- Who will be your target participants?
- Do you have enough time to conduct the research?
- What’s the purpose of your study?
- What kinds of resources do you have?
- Do you have enough funds to conduct your research?
- Do you have access to the community you want to study?
Types of Ethnographic Research
Realistic ethnographic research.
It is unbiased documentation written in the third person. You can use the collected notes for interpretations.
A case study is a documented history and detailed analysis of a situation concerning organisations, industries, and markets. It aims at discovering new facts of the condition under observation.
It includes data collection from multiple sources over time.
Critical Ethnographic Research
It focuses on the marginalised community to study inequality and dominance.
How to Conduct Ethnographic Research?
Step 1: problem formulation.
Before conducting any research, the essential step is selecting the problem you want to carry out your study.
Step 2: Select a Research Setting
After Selecting a research problem, you need to select the location of your research. It will help if you prefer a familiar place and community in which you can fit comfortably.
Step 3: Get Access to the Community
You need to get access to the community you want to study. How do you reach the community you want to study?
You need to get official permission to conduct your research on a specific group of people. You can also join the community as a volunteer instead of a researcher.
There are two types of access, such as:
Open access: You don’t need to seek permission to conduct your research and collect data in this type of access. You can observe the population. You need to get accepted by the group to proceed with your research.
Example: Public in market places, parties, concerts, etc., are regarded as open-access groups.
Closed-access: In this type of access, you need to get permission from the gatekeeper of the community you want to study.
Example: Schools, colleges, corporations, etc.
Step 4: Represent yourself to the Group
It would help if you asked yourself a few questions before introducing yourself to the group members.
- How will you introduce yourself to the community you want to study?
- What would be your role in the group?
- How actively do you want to participate in the group’s day-to-day activities?
- Will the group accept you as a researcher and allow you to conduct your research?
You can either inform the participants about the experiment, and it’s called the overt approach. You can hide the research and oversee people’s behaviour. It’s called a covert approach.
You can also act as a participant of the community performing the activities like the group, called active observation. It allows the community to feel more comfortable with the researcher.
Similarly, you can keep yourself away from the group without performing any activities like them and observe them as a researcher. It is called passive observation.
It would help if you tried various approaches until you find a suitable method to proceed with your research.
Step 5: Collecting and Recording the Information
You can collect the data by the following methods;
Observation: You can participate in the group activities or observe the group’s behavior, either informing them about the experiment or keeping them unaware of the investigation.
Interviewing: You can carry out direct conversations with all group members or obtain information from a specific member of the group. It’s better not to rely on the informants as they may interpret the data according to their perception rather than delivering in its actual context.
Archival Research: You can also use existing information stored in the previous researchers’ records to proceed with your research.
It becomes difficult to gather and record the information at the same time.
What should you do in this situation?
You can maintain a notepad to record your observation immediately or sometimes wait until you leave the setting to record your observation. It’s better to note down your observations as soon as possible before you forget them and struggle to recall them. You can write down your field notes or record the people’s audios or videos while talking to them.
Your notes should include the following features:
Running/Field Notes: these are the observations that you note down daily. The idea is to record your observation immediately after observing it. It would help if you observed the individual activities of the group members and perspectives.
- Field note method/ style
- Goode (2002) described his note-taking as follows, “I took extremely detailed notes usually within 24 hours after the fact, during the entire time I spent with N AAPA”
- “ I quoted conversations between informants and myself whose wording is as close to what was said as my notes, and the vagaries of my memory can render them. If the reader recognises small poetic liberties taken with inessential descriptive details, the author begs indulgence on that point at least. The writing style of this account falls somewhere what Van Maanen refers to as “confessional tales” and his “impressionist tales”(1988, pp.73-100, 101-124). Van Maanen states that these are legitimate and recognised styles of ethnographic writing. Here, I take him at his word.”
Forgotten Episodes: These are the incidents or observations you forgot to record and remember again when you revisit the field.
Future Notes: This includes plans for future observations. You need to note down your ideas about data collection, data analysis, and other research details.
Personal Experiences: This includes your own experiences and reactions to the people you received during your research.
Methodological Notes: It includes all the obstacles and difficulties you face while conducting your research, such as data collection, recording it, and dealing with the people.
Step 6: Data Analysis
The data analysis of ethnographic research is challenging as it includes an ample amount of data describing people’s behavior, beliefs, and culture. You can follow content analysis, thematic analysis, narrative description, and discourse analysis.
You can follow the following strategies for data analysis:
Coding Strategy: It includes the labeling of the written information. It takes a lot of time to go through the textual data. Coding is a way of tagging the data and organising it into a sequence of symbols, numbers, and letters to highlight the relevant points. In simple words, you need to break the information into smaller parts.
Sorting for Patterns: You need to group the descriptive labels into smaller groups and try to develop themes and identify possible connections between the groups of information. If you have missed any information, situation, or case, you can recollect the information according to your data analysis requirements.
Literature Review: You can review the existing literature related to your findings with the existing theories or findings of previous researchers to authenticate your research.
Memos: these are written clarifications and remarks of the researcher to record his assumptions and opinions throughout the research.
Step 7: Write your Ethnography
There is no specific procedure to write ethnography by incorporating the information you gathered and explaining the community members’ behaviours during your study.
You can write ethnography in the form of a thesis, an article, or a book. It’s unnecessary to follow a scientific paper structure like other academic papers, including abstract, introduction, and conclusion. You can start your paper at any point, such as describing your research background, or you can follow a traditional structure of academic papers.
Main Parts of Ethnographic Research
The following are the main parts of ethnographic research;
- Dumping ground or Effective alternative
- Literature Review
- Methods of data collection
- Body/Sample collection
- Interpretations/Analysis/Cause and Effect
You need to incorporate your personal experiences, feelings, and obstacles you faced during your research using the notes you have already taken. Yours is not just confined to the information gathering. It allows conveying your thoughts and experiences narratively. You can also use the previous theories and studies related to your research to make your discussion even more reliable and evidence-based.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to describe ethnographic research.
Ethnographic research involves immersing in a community or culture to understand its nuances. Researchers observe, participate, and interview to grasp social practices, beliefs, and behaviors. It provides rich insights into how people experience and interpret their world.
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7 facts about americans’ views of money in politics.
Widespread dissatisfaction with the role of money in American politics is one of the many themes in Pew Research Center’s recent report on Americans’ dismal views of the nation’s political landscape .
This analysis summarizes key findings about money and politics from the recent Pew Research Center report “Americans’ Dismal Views of the Nation’s Politics.” We conducted the study to better understand how Americans view U.S. politics today and explore in depth how the public thinks about the quality of their political representation and the relationship between political actors and the people they represent.
The analysis is based on a survey of 8,480 adults from July 10 to July 16, 2023. Everyone who took part is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology .
Here are the questions used for the report , along with responses, and its methodology .
Explore Americans’ views of the political system
This article draws from our major report on Americans’ attitudes about the political system and political representation, based on surveys conducted this summer. For more, read:
- The report chapters on money in politics and problems with the political system
- The full report
Large shares of the public see political campaigns as too costly, elected officials as too responsive to donors and special interests, and members of Congress as unable or unwilling to separate their financial interests from their work as public servants.
Here are seven facts about how Americans view the influence of money on the political system and elected officials, drawn from our recent report.
Most Americans favor spending limits for political campaigns. Roughly seven-in-ten U.S. adults (72%) say that there should be limits on the amount of money individuals and organizations can spend on political campaigns. Just 11% say individuals and organizations should be able to spend as much money as they want, and 16% are not sure.
Support for spending limits crosses ideological and demographic lines. Across all groups, by margins of at least three-to-one, more people say there should be limits than say there should not.
Nearly six-in-ten Americans say it’s possible to have laws that would effectively reduce the role of money in politics. About two-in-ten (21%) say it’s not possible to legislate this effectively. A similar share (20%) are not sure.
Liberal Democrats are particularly likely to say it’s possible to have laws that would reduce the role of money in politics. About three-quarters (76%) say this, compared with 57% of conservative or moderate Democrats and 52% of Republicans. There are no ideological differences on this question among Republicans.
In an open-ended question, 11% of Americans volunteer that the biggest problem with elected officials is that they’re too influenced by money in politics. An additional 9% describe elected officials as corrupt and 16% say they don’t work for the people they represent. These concerns are among the top responses to this question .
In a separate open-ended question about the political system as a whole, 15% say that the biggest problem is greed or corruption among elected officials.
Americans overwhelmingly say that the cost of political campaigns makes it hard for good people to run for office. More than eight-in-ten Americans (85%) say this is a good description of the U.S. political system today, including identical shares of Republicans and Democrats.
A similar share of the public (84%) says that “special interest groups and lobbyists have too much say in what happens in politics” is a good description of the political system.
Self-interest – especially the desire to make money – is one of the main reasons people think most elected officials ran for office. More than six-in-ten (63%) say that all or most of the people who currently serve as elected officials ran for office to make a lot of money .
Majorities also say that all or most officials ran for office to seek a higher-level office in the future (57%) or to seek personal fame and attention (54%). Far fewer say that all or most elected officials ran to address issues they care about (22%) or to serve the public (15%).
Roughly eight-in-ten Americans say members of Congress do a bad job of keeping their personal financial interests separate from their work in Congress. The public also rates members of Congress poorly on listening to the concerns of people in their districts, working with members of the opposing party and taking responsibility for their actions.
Campaign donors and lobbyists are widely viewed as having too much influence on members of Congress. Eight-in-ten U.S. adults say the people who donate money to political campaigns have too much influence on the decisions members of Congress make. And 73% say lobbyists and special interest groups have too much influence. Large majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike say campaign donors, lobbyists and special interest groups have too much influence.
By contrast, 70% of Americans say the people who live in representatives’ districts have too little influence over the decisions their representatives make.
Note: Here are the questions used for the report , along with responses, and its methodology .
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Wide partisan divide on whether voting is a fundamental right or a privilege with responsibilities
More u.s. locations experimenting with alternative voting systems, many western europeans think mandatory voting is important, but americans are split, republicans and democrats move further apart in views of voting access, share of republicans saying ‘everything possible’ should be done to make voting easy declines sharply, most popular.
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts .