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GEOG 130: Ethnographic Research

Definitions of Ethnography?

1)The Systematic study of people and cultures. It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher obverses society from the point of view of the subject of the study. The resulting field study or a case report reflects the knowledge and the system of meanings in the lives of a cultural group. 

2)The word "ethnography" is derived from the Greek "ἔθνος" which means "a company, later a people, nation" and "graphy" meaning "writing". Ethnography studies focus on large cultural groups of people who interact over time. Ethnography is a set of qualitative methods that are used in social sciences that focus on the observation of social practices and interactions. 

3) The study of social interactions, behaviors, and perceptions that occur within teams, organizations, and communities. Ethnographic studies typically used methods of gathering participant observations and interviews. 

What is the Ethnography Research

1) Ethnography is a type of qualitative research that gathers observations, interviews, and documentary data to produce detailed and comprehensive accounts of different social phenomena. It is also aimed at those interested in considering the use of ethnographic methods in their own research work. 

2) Ethnographic research is a qualitative method where researchers observe and/or interact with a study's participants in their real-life environment. Ethnography was popularised by anthropology but is used across a wide range of social sciences. 

The Why

The purpose of ethnographic research is to attempt to understand what is happening naturally in the setting to interpret the data gathered to see what implications could be formed from the data gathered to see what implications could be formed from the data. 

"In one respect, fieldwork never really ends, neither for field workers nor subjects, for each fieldwork adventure is a part of an ineradicable continuum of human experience. The result of fieldwork, therefore, is not ended. What is learned from the experience results instead in continuities and new beginnings whose ends are usually unpredictable and indeterminable? Such is the nature of the human relationship and of human beings' constant search to understand themselves and know each other". (Robert A. Georges, People Studying People: The Human Element of Fieldwork)

The How

1) Identify a Research Question. Determine what problem you are seeking to better understand.

2) Determine Location(s) for Research. 

3) Formulate Presentation Method. 

4) Acquire Permissions and Access.

5) Observe and Participate.

6) Interview. 

7) Collect Archival Data. 

8) Code and Analyze Data.