What Is Ethnographic Research?

Ethnography, from the Greek ethnos (“foreign people”) and graphein (“to write”), is the systematic study of a particular cultural group or phenomenon. Ethnography is the primary research methodology for anthropologists; it seeks to answer anthropological questions concerning the ways of life of living human beings. Ethnographic research is also conducted by social scientists in other fields, including cultural studies, education, linguistics, communication studies, health care, and criminology. Historically ethnography has been defined in ways that focus on both the what and the how. In 1909, according to A. R. Radcliffe-Brown's later summation (1952), a group of British anthropologists defined ethnography as “the ...

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