About the term
The term ‘ Ethnography’ has its root in two Greek words,i.g ‘ethnos’ & ‘graphia’
‘Ethnos’ refers to people
‘ Graphia’ stand for writing
So , the term ‘Ethnography’ literally means ‘ A potrait of a people’
Definition of Ethnography
According to Harris & Johnson, an Ethnography is a written descriptionof a particular culture ( customs,believes,behaviours) based on information collection through fieldwork.
Ethnographic method refers to fieldwork (participant observation) conducted by a single investigator who ‘ lives with & lives like’ those who are studied.- Van Manen, 1996
Steps of conducting Ethnography-
1. Problem formulation
2. Selecting a research setting
3. Gaining access
4. Presenting oneself or formulate presentation method
5. Gathering & recording information
– contexual interviews
– video diaries
– analysis of artifacts
When to use –
1. When you search the meaning of cultural norms of values.
2. Find reason for the use of certain behaviours or practices.
3. Examining divorce, slavery, prostitution etc.
4. Trying to understand the roles of family, relationship and organisations.
5. Most valuable at the beginning of a project.
6. When the researchers donot have the slightest idea of real end user needs.
Strengths or advantages-
1. No expensive or elaborate tool is needed.
2. It can be used to study marginalized groups of people.
3. No need of a big team.
4. It allows to collect data in a realistic or naturalist setting in which people act normally focusing on verbal and nonverbal behaviours.
5. It is longitudinalin nature.
Limitations of Ethnography-
1. Expensive and time consuming.
2. Presentation of results is a difficult task.
3. Issue of reliability.
4. No one can cross check the results.
5. Relies on personal experience.
6. It requires language and culture learning.