Ethnography Essentials : Designing, Conducting, and Presenting Your Research

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-19
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
  • We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $6.30
    Check/Direct Deposit: $6.00
List Price: $58.67 Save up to $36.52
  • Rent Book $22.15
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.
  • The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


This volume offers a comprehensive, stand-alone guide to ethnographic research. It introduces students to the excitement and challenges of the field and guides them step-by-step through a single research project. The author emphasizes ethnographic writing and the link between research process and current theoretical thinking about ethnography. Topics covered include choosing a topic, research design, writing a proposal, participant observation, interviews, mapping, kinship and organizational charts, archives and secondary data, sorting and coding data, evaluating and revising your ethnography and much more.

Author Biography

Julian M. Murchison is associate professor of anthropology and sociology at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. He conducted ethnographic research in southern Tanzania for nearly two years. He regularly travels to Tanzania with students and supervises their independent research projects and ethnographic writing.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
The Authorp. xiii
The Why and What of Ethnographyp. 1
What is Ethnography?p. 3
Ethnography: The Engaged, Firsthand Study of Society and Culture in Actionp. 4
A Brief Historyp. 4
How Ethnography Has Changed: Doing Contemporary Ethnographyp. 8
Ethnography as Firsthand Researchp. 12
Ethnographer as Research Instrumentp. 13
Collaboration as Research Model: Ethnographer as Studentp. 15
Choosing an Ethnographic Topicp. 19
Where to Look for Possible Topicsp. 22
Ethnographic Topics: Studying Places, People, or Eventsp. 23
The Benefits of a Relatively Specific Focusp. 23
Thinking About the Nonobvious as Discoverablep. 26
Cultural Knowledge and Behavior in Action as Research Objectsp. 28
Practical Concernsp. 29
Considering Ethics from the Start: Your Obligations to Potential Informantsp. 32
Topics You Might Want to Avoidp. 33
Research Designp. 37
Turning an Idea or Topic into a Research Questionp. 38
Linking Questions to Methodsp. 40
Key Methods to Consider for the Ethnographic Projectp. 41
What Is Practical or Feasible? Time, Availability, and Ethicsp. 47
Writing a Proposalp. 51
Identifying and Reviewing Appropriate Literaturep. 52
Statement of the Problemp. 55
A Clear Research Planp. 56
Identifying Your Project's Larger Relevancep. 58
Human Subjects Review and Approvalp. 59
Ethnography in the Field: Collecting Datap. 65
A Guide to Collecting Data and Taking Notesp. 67
The Fleeting Nature of Ethnographic Datap. 69
"Should I Write it Down Immediately?"p. 69
The Importance of Detail in the Ethnographic Recordp. 71
Writing Notes Versus Using Recordersp. 72
The Prospects of Transcriptionp. 74
What Is Important and What Is Superfluous: "What Do I Need to Write Down?"p. 76
The Ethics of Collecting Informationp. 78
Participant-Observationp. 83
The Apparent Paradox: Participation and Observationp. 84
Balancing Participation and Observationp. 87
The Importance of Timep. 88
Depending on Informants as Teachers and Guidesp. 89
Getting Startedp. 92
Regular Versus Extraordinary Behavior and Conversationsp. 94
Interviewsp. 99
Starting with Informal Interviews and Conversationsp. 101
Informal Conversation as an Avenue to "Real" Culturep. 104
A Good Interviewer Is a Good Listenerp. 105
How to Record Interview Datap. 105
Using an Interview Schedulep. 107
How to Start an Interviewp. 108
Good Versus Bad Interview Questionsp. 109
When to Conduct Formal Interviewsp. 113
Analyzing Along the Wayp. 115
Identifying Key Themes and Questions: Paying Attention to Your Datap. 116
How to Organize Your Notesp. 117
What Have You Learned?p. 118
What Do You Still Need to Do?p. 119
Has the Research Question Changed?p. 120
Tweaking the Research Designp. 121
Getting Feedback from Your Informantsp. 122
Writing at the Midway Pointp. 123
Ethnographic Mapsp. 127
Space and Movement as Key Components of Culturep. 131
The Importance of Space, Shape, and Distancep. 131
Large- and Small-Scale Geographic Mapsp. 132
Mapping Interior Spacesp. 135
Cognitive or Conceptual Mapsp. 138
Representing Movement and Behavior on a Mapp. 141
Tables and Chartsp. 143
Ethnographic Tablesp. 144
Interpersonal Relationships as a Manifestation of Culturep. 144
Kinship as an Organizing Principlep. 146
Other Organizational Chartsp. 149
Archives and Secondary Datap. 157
Cultural Artifacts as Sources of Informationp. 158
Making Ethnographic Use of Archivesp. 161
Contemporary Cultural Artifactsp. 164
Evaluating and Analyzing Cultural Artifactsp. 166
Analytical Sources Versus Popular or Primary Sourcesp. 167
Analyzing and Writingp. 171
Sorting and Coding Datap. 173
Writing from Your Research Datap. 174
Identifying Key Themes and Questionsp. 175
Identifying Important Research Moments and Experiencesp. 176
Coding and Sorting the Ethnographic Recordp. 178
Dealing with Apparent Contradictions: The Messiness of Ethnographic Datap. 181
Answering Questions and Building Modelsp. 183
Fitting the Pieces Togetherp. 184
Moving from Data to Theory: The Inductive Processp. 190
Remembering the Big Picture and the Big Questionsp. 190
Infusing Theory in Ethnographyp. 192
Choosing the Appropriate Presentation Stylep. 195
Common Ethnographic Conventionsp. 196
The Importance of Ethnographic Detailp. 202
Matching Style to Audience, Subject, and Analysisp. 204
A Formal to Informal Continuum of Stylep. 206
Putting the Whole Ethnography Togetherp. 211
The Hourglass Shape as a Modelp. 212
Alternative Models for Organizing an Ethnographyp. 213
Incorporating Relevant Literaturep. 214
Incorporating Maps, Charts, and Photographsp. 215
Demonstrating the Project's Relevancep. 216
Evaluating and Revising Ethnographyp. 217
Sharing the Ethnographyp. 218
Incorporating Responses and Critiquesp. 220
Glossaryp. 223
Referencesp. 231
Indexp. 235
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

Rewards Program

Write a Review