Leader:  Dr. Jim Lane 

Ethnography is the study of culture and has at its roots the field of anthropology but has branched out to study the cultures of peoples and how cultures influence the lives of the people that live within social setting (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015). There are generally two schools of ethnography whose origins were taken from the aspects of society.  They are social and cultural anthropology.   The field of social ethnography explores the social aspects of people living within a society.  In cultural ethnography attention is centered more on the cultural aspects of the people in a society.  In both social and cultural ethnography the premise is that the researcher works within a community, understanding their culture, and let the participants in the study present their thoughts and ideas in their own words.   One misconception is that an ethnographic study, due in part to its basis in anthropology, takes place in remote areas involving indigenous peoples.  While this is plausible it is so much more.  Ethnographic studies can take place in urban, rural, and remote areas. 


Emerson, R. M, Fretz, R. I., & Shaw, L. L. (2011). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Fetterman, D. M. (2010). Ethnography: Step-by-step (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Merriam, S., & Tisdell, E. (2015). Qualitative research:  A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

Wolcott. H. F. (2008). Ethnography: A way of seeing (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.


Please post your questions and comments regarding ethnography in this discussion thread.