Useful for College in the Schools students in WRIT 1301 getting started on the Ethnography assignment.

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Examples of Ethnographic Studies

Articles from U Libraries

Lifestyles of Adolescents With Visual Impairments: An Ethnographic Analysis
Sacks, Sharon and Wolffe, Karen E. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness v. 92 (January 1998) p. 7-17
Abstract: The first study of the Social Network Pilot Project provided quantitative data on the lifestyles of 32 adolescents with visual impairments and 16 who were sighted. This article reports on the second study, an in-depth ethnographic analysis of 3 of the visually impaired adolescents from the first study.

The Lost Voice of the Adolescent Male
Anderson, Kimberly P.; Evans, Cay; Mangin, Martha. Journal of Instructional Psychology v. 24 (March 1997) p. 14-23
Abstract: This study investigated the perspective of the adolescent at-risk male through ethnographical methodologies. The researchers began with observing the adolescent at-risk males in a support group. From the observations, a pattern was recognized. The researchers employed a questionnaire to acquire a better perspective. The data were analyzed using data triangulation. The investigation identified ten common themes of at-risk adolescent male behavior: school, students, family, friends, discipline, attitudes, behaviors, self-esteem, sex, and race.

Moral Development in Fraternity Members: A Case Study
Mathiasen, Robert E. College Student Journal v. 39 no. 2 (June 2005) p. 242-52
Abstract: Research on the effects of Greek life on college student moral development has generally concluded that membership in these organizations does little to enhance moral development. However, this qualitative case study of one fraternity found otherwise. A fraternity at a large Midwestern university was studied. The fraternity (given the pseudonym "Alpha Alpha") was chosen based upon information gathered from student affairs personnel at the university. Multiple sources of information were used in this study (documents, interviews, observations). The data collected provided support for Alpha Alpha's reputation as a positive influence on members' moral development. Four major themes emerged from the data collected: (1) recruiting quality students, (2) upholding house tradition and reputation, (3) emphasizing moral development, and (4) encouraging community service.

The Politics of Culture and the Struggle to Get an Education
Sparks, Barbara. Adult Education Quarterly v. 48 no. 4 (Summer 1998) p. 245-59
Abstract: Many adults who attempt to read their basic educational goals through the formal adult education system fail to find programs that meet their needs. Based on in-depth interviews with Chicano/as in the Southwest, this report examines the impact of and the extent to which historical and contemporary structural constraints impede their efforts. It concludes that adult education practice at all levels must be restructured to become more inclusive and supportive of nondominant groups that look to adult education for assistance in reaching their academic goals.

How to find ethnographies

The following article databases are useful for finding ethnographic studies.
Tip: Some keywords that are useful for finding these are "ethnographic study", "ethnology or ethnography"

Information on how to do an ethnography

Search Sage Research Methods Online for "ethnography" or search by title of sample of online books below:

Handbook of Ethnography
Edited by: Paul Atkinson, Amanda Coffey, Sara Delamont, John Lofland, Lyn Lofland Published: 2001

Ethnography in Education
David Mills, Missy Morton Published: 2013

Ethnographic Research – Studying Groups in Natural Settings
Bruce Curtis, Cate Curtis In Social Research: A Practical Introduction | Published: 2011

Key Concepts in Ethnography
Karen O'Reilly Published: 2009

Ethnography and Participant Observation
Jan Kees van Donge In Doing Development Research | Published: 2006

Observing a group

Potential Sources of Observer Bias in Police Observational Data
Spano, Richard. Social Science Research , 2005, 34, 3, Sept, 591-617
Abstract: Much of our knowledge about police behavior "on the street" is based on in-person observation of the police. However, little research has examined how the observers can potentially bias observational data. In this paper, anecdotal accounts from a variety of field settings are categorized into four potential sources of observer bias. Secondary analyses of data from a large-scale observational study of police are used to assess the impact of three out of the four type of observer bias (reactivity, going native, & burnout). There is evidence of reactivity for arrest, but not use of force behavior & little support for going native & burnout. More generally, observer bias is categorized as: (1) threats to the validity of observational data collected at different stages of fieldwork; & (2) the potential for human error implicit in observational data. The incorporation of a semi-structured field diary is suggested to more systematically document all four types of observer bias in future research.

Interviews and Taking and Using Field Notes

Ethics of ethnography

Ethics of Ethnography

American Anthropological Association's Statement on Professional Ethics 
The American Anthropological Association's statement on professional ethics is considered standard for ethical ethnographic research, and all researchers are required to adhere to it.

One Hundred Dollars and a Dead Man: Ethical Decision Making in Ethnographic Fieldwork
Vanderstaay, Steven L. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography , 2005, 34, 4, Aug, 371-409
Abstract: This article provides a narrative of the author's research on Clay, a teenage cocaine dealer, the author's efforts to help Clay's family, & of events that culminate in Clay's murder of his mother's friend. Following the narrative, the author reflects on the relationship of this case study to questions & concerns raised in previous discussions of ethical decision making during fieldwork. These include the extent of responsibility researchers have for the safety & well-being of research subjects, the emotional costs of researching drug users & sellers, & fear of exploiting research subjects. The author concludes that, while no recipe for ethical fieldwork can be written, a review of dilemmas faced by previous ethnographers can enable researchers to anticipate difficulties & to establish useful guidelines before entering the field.

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2020 8:27 AM