What, When or How is Ethnography?

If you really want to know, read the following in this order:

  1. Introduction: Correspondences: Ethnography by Susan MacDougall
  2. Provocation: Ethnography: ProvocationWe Need More Ethnography, Not Less by Andrew Shryock
  3. Interview: Enough about Ethnography: An Interview with Tim Ingoldby Susan MacDougall
  4. Article: That’s enough about ethnography! Tim INGOLD This work is licensed under the Creative Commons | © Tim Ingold. ISSN 2049-1115 (Online)

PS. I really love what Cultural Anthropology is doing with Correspondences

PPS. Don’t comment here, join us on Cultural Anthropology



Design-Oriented Ethnography

Design-Oriented Ethnography

READ: What We Buy When We Buy Design Research

WATCH: The Deep Dive Part 1 of 3

WATCH: The Deep Dive, Part 2 of 3

WATCH: The Deep Dive, Part 3 of 3

READ: Combining ethnography and object-orientation for mobile interaction design: Contextual richness and abstract models. Jesper Kjeldskovn and Jan StageInt. J. Human-Computer Studies 70 (2012) 197–217.


(Barley) For a Definition of What Ethnography is Not [Nan]

PARC Forum:  Stephen R. Barley, Center for Work, Technology and Organization, Stanford School of Engineering at
View minutes 4:00-16:00 of this talk (end on the “ignorance of expertise”)

Summary of presentation by Stephen Barley, a Stanford professor who teaches courses on technology and work, the management of R&D, social network analysis, and ethnographic field methods and researches organizational culture in engineering.

In defining ethnography, both what it is and what it is not are needed to differentiate from other forms of qualitative research methods.

Ethnography is Ethnography is NOT
A type of research that is qualitative, but does not preclude quantification or statistical analysis A synonym for qualitative research
Intensely and acutely empirical Particularly subjective
Counting of incidents of indicators observed that are relevant to the setting and topic of study
Observing behaviors, speech acts, interactions between people filling roles, information from docs produced by informants for their own purposes
Using surveys with questions developed from understanding the setting Using surveys based on others’ research
Utilizes quantitative data to substantiate claims about differences and distributions of behaviors or beliefs in the setting where ethnographer is studying. Based on general theory
Testing hypotheses about phenomena emerge in the field work Test testing hypotheses associated with an abstract theory

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