What is Ethnography?

Ethnography is a research method central to knowing the world from the standpoint of its social relations. It is a qualitative research method predicated on the diversity of culture at home (wherever that may be) and abroad. Ethnography involves hands-on, on-the-scene learning — and it is relevant wherever people are relevant. Ethnography is the primary method of social and cultural anthropology, but it is integral to the social sciences and humanities generally, and draws its methods from many quarters, including the natural sciences. For these reasons, ethnographic studies relate to many fields of study and many kinds of personal experience – including study abroad and community-based or international internships. For further discussion about ethnography, see Why Study Anthropology.

All Anthropology concentrators  take two core methods courses on ethnography: 

  • ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience (offered in fall terms)
  • ANT 301 The Ethnographer's Craft (offered in spring terms)

Students interested in anthropological ways of knowing and in learning ethnographic methods, but are unable to major in Anthropology, are encouraged to take courses offered by the department on a broad range of topics, as well as methods courses, such as Ethnography for Research and Design (ANT 302) and Datafication in Ethnography (ANT 456). All students are welcome to consult Anthropology faculty about their research interests. The VizE Lab for Ethnographic Data Visualization may be especially helpful.