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Ethnographic Methods




Admission Requirements

A similarly-tagged 100/200-level course or permission from the instructor.


This seminar is designed to give students in-depth exposure to ethnographic related research methods such as participant observation, conversation and interviews in the realm of cultural anthropology. It will introduce students to various ways of collecting, analyzing, evaluating and critiquing qualitative data including field notes and interview transcripts. The course explores a wide range of aspects involving the preparation, realization and evaluation of ethnographic fieldwork.

Course Objectives

  • Familiarize students with the role personal and theoretical knowledge play in conducting ethnographic research

  • Develop practical research skills

  • Appraise the quality of ethnographic research

  • Comprehend the way ethnographic data is collected and interpreted

Mode of Instruction

The course will be taught primarily in seminar format. Students are expected to read course materials in advance. Students are also expected to engage in debates making class participation an essential element to the success of the course.


Course readings will be posted on Blackboard.

Further reading:
Chambers, E. “Applied Ethnography”, in Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (Eds.) (2001). The Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Abashin, S (2006) “The Logic of Islamic Practice: A Religious Conflict in Central Asia”. Central Asian Survey 25(3):267 – 286.
Adams, L (1999) “The Mascot Researcher: Identity, Power, and Knowledge in Fieldwork”. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 28(4):33
Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods. Third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 17
Atkinson, P. (2007) Ethnography: Principles in Practice. 3rd edition. London: Routledge.

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Introducing Ethnography
Week 2: History of Ethnography
Week 3: Ethnographic Practices
Week 4: Designing Ethnography
Week 5: Contemporary Ethnographic Methods
Week 6: Theory of Ethnography
Week 7: Write Ups
Week 8: Reading Week