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Ethnography of the University SOTL Study

Designed to give students a taste of what it is like to actually do ethnographic research, this brief manual offers a related set of three enriching yet manageable research projects with clear, workable instructions and guidelines. Through them, Professor Angrosino demonstrates for students at all levels that ethnography is an exciting and challenging form of social research. This solid, encouraging, and readable guide provides the basic format so that students can learn the fundamental ethnographic data collection techniques of observation, interviewing, and analyzing archives while conducting their own mini-projects in local settings.

Projects in Ethnographic Research also includes many well-chosen, concrete, and illuminating examples drawn from the research of the author's own students and from the published works of other ethnographers.


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Would you like to save your cart? We will send your cart at your email, so you can complete your order later Each ethnographer brings his or her own unique approach to the process. Regardless, the emphasis is on allowing the person or persons being interviewed to answer without being limited by pre-defined choices — something which clearly differentiates qualitative from more quantitative or demographic approaches. In most cases, an ethnographic interview looks and feels little different than an everyday conversation and indeed in the course of long-term participant-observation, most conversations are in fact purely spontaneous and without any specific agenda.

Researchers collect other sources of data which depend on the specific nature of the field setting. This may take the form of representative artifacts that embody characteristics of the topic of interest, government reports, and newspaper and magazine articles. Over the past twenty years, interest has grown within anthropology for considering the close relationship between personal history, motivation, and the particulars of ethnographic fieldwork e.

Data management in anthropology: the next phase in ethics governance?

It is undeniably important to question and understand how these factors have bearing on the construction of theory and conduct of a scholarly life. Personal and professional experiences, together with historical context, lead individual researchers to their own particular methodological and theoretical approaches. This too is an important, even if unacknowledged, source. Ethnographic fieldwork is shaped by personal and professional identities just as these identities are inevitably shaped by individual experiences while in the field. Unfortunately, the autobiographical dimension of ethnographic research has been downplayed historically if not discounted altogether.


  • Department of Anthropology | University of South Florida.
  • Ethnography.
  • Kleinian Groups and Related Topics: Proceedings of the Workshop Held at Oaxtepec, Mexico, August 10–14, 1981.
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  • We learn in his diaries that, among other details, Malinowski longed to write great novels even as his scientific writing effectively defined the practice of cultural anthropology for much of the twentieth century. First of these is that, at its heart, ethnographic writing is a means of expressing a shared interest among cultural anthropologists for telling stories — stories about what it means to be human. The other is that the explicit professional project of observing, imagining and describing other people need not be incompatible with the implicit personal project of learning about the self.

    It is the honest truth of fieldwork that these two projects are always implicated in each other.

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    Good ethnography recognizes the transformative nature of fieldwork where as we search for answers to questions about people we may find ourselves in the stories of others. Ethnography should be acknowledged as a mutual product born of the intertwining of the lives of the ethnographer and his or her subjects for more on these points, please see Hoey An Engaging Ethnography. Posed by a middle-aged lifestyle migrant who left a corporate career, this question invokes the theme of Opting for Elsewhere that emerges from stories of people who chose relocation as a way of redefining themselves and reordering work, family, and personal priorities.

    This is a book about the impulse to start over. The accounts presented involve new expressions of old dreams, understandings, and ideals.

    Ethnographic Research: Getting Started

    Whether downshifting from stressful careers or the victims of downsizing from jobs lost in a surge of economic restructuring, lifestyle migrants seek refuge in places that seem to resonate with an idealized, potential self. Choosing the option of elsewhere and moving as a means of remaking self through sheer force of will are basic facets of American character forged in its history as a developing nation of immigrants with a seemingly ever-expanding frontier.

    Stories told here are parts of a larger moral story about what constitutes the good life at a time of economic uncertainty coupled with shifting social categories and cultural meanings. Brian Hoey provides an evocative illustration of the ways these sweeping changes impact people and the places that they live and work as well as how both react—devising strategies for either coping with or challenging the status quo.

    This stirring portrait of starting over in the heartland of America will initiate fruitful discussion about where we are going next as an emerging postindustrial society.