Ethnography is an important type of empirical inquiry, and a powerful mode of knowledge production about human social life. It involves a direct and sustained involvement with specific social groups, or communities, as well as an ability to question one’s own observations and categories of analysis. This seminar aims to provide a practical introduction to ethnographic field methods. It is designed for both Bachelor and Master students willing to gain a critical understanding and experience of ethnographic research tools. We will examine a range of techniques and approaches related to conducting empirical fieldwork, and discuss the challenges of identifying, being in, and leaving the field. Students will formulate and conduct their own ethnographic research in small groups (Bachelor students), or individually (Master students) in their nearby environment. Attention will be given to both practical and epistemological issues encountered by the students in their fields.

Upon completion of the seminar, students will have developed qualitative research skills and be better equipped for their future BA or MA fieldworks.

Indicative bibliography

  • Bernard H. Russell. 2011. Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Lanham: AltaMira Press.
  • Denzin Norman K., Lincoln Yvonna S. (eds.). 2017. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
  • Emerson Robert M., Fretz Rachel I., Shaw Linda L. 2011. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press.
  • O’Reilly Karen. 2005. Ethnographic Methods. London: Routledge.
  • Robben Antonius C.G.M., Sluka Jeffrey A. (eds.). 2012. Ethnographic Fieldwork: An Anthropological Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.