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Thu 1 Feb, Thu 8 Feb, ... Thu 22 Feb 2024
15:30 - 17:00

Venue: Lecture Theatre A (Arts School)

Provided by: Cambridge Research Methods


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Ethnographic Methods

Thu 1 Feb, Thu 8 Feb, ... Thu 22 Feb 2024


This module is an introduction to ethnographic fieldwork and analysis, as these are practiced and understood by anthropologists. The module is intended for students in fields other than anthropology.

  • Session 1: The Ethnographic Method (Dr Andrew Sanchez)
  • Session 2: Multimodal Ethnography Part I (Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson)
  • Session 3: Digital Ethnography (Summer Qassim)
  • Session 4: Multimodal Ethnography Part II (Dr Kelly Fagan Robinson)

Session overview

Session 1: The Ethnographic Method

  • What is ethnography?
  • Can ethnographic research and writing be objective?
  • How does one conduct ethnographic research responsibly and ethically?

Session 2: Multimodal Ethnography Part I

In this session students will be introduced to 'multimodal' thinking and doing in fieldwork (multimodal literally means 'the different ways in which something occurs or is experienced'). We will practically unpack some of the ways of crafting what are known as 'fieldnotes', which are most commonly done via text but which can take a number of different forms. We will also think about how the varied approaches anthropologists take to document what they meet in their fieldsites can significantly impact the shaping of their subsequent analysis. We will unpack the pros and cons of different techniques of documentation including: text, drawing, sound recording, filmic capture, and photovoice.

Session 3: Digital Ethnography

In this session, we discuss anthropologically-informed ethnographic practices of "the digital." In order to do so, we first define what is meant by "digital", as well as delineate the various ways in which the digital presents itself in everyday life, in order to ascertain the appropriate ethnographic methods for each. The session combines theoretical conversations, research ethics, and practical tips on how to conduct research on digital platforms like social media sites, messaging apps, immersive virtual games, and how to mix methods when encountering intersections thereof.

Session 4: Multimodal Ethnography Part II

In this session, we will revisit multimodal approaches and reflect on relational dynamics in the field with particular attention to the ways in which methods have been used to address power imbalances in research methods, representation, and analysis. In particular we will think through the role of multimodal approaches as part of participant-led research. We will discuss how researchers can foster greater legibility and inclusion of research participants-- particularly those who are more marginalised --in discussions, debates and decisions about their lives and futures, equalizing, as far as possible, power hierarchies and epistemic imbalances.

Target audience
  • Postgraduate students and staff
  • Further details regarding eligibility criteria are available here

Students attending this module are expected to have a working understanding of qualitative methods in social research.


Number of sessions: 4

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Thu 1 Feb   15:30 - 17:00 15:30 - 17:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Dr Andrew Sanchez
2 Thu 8 Feb   15:30 - 17:00 15:30 - 17:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Dr Kelly Robinson
3 Thu 15 Feb   15:30 - 17:00 15:30 - 17:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Summer Qassim
4 Thu 22 Feb   15:30 - 17:00 15:30 - 17:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Dr Kelly Robinson
  • To involve students in the study of ongoing debates on ethnographic practice¬†
  • To look at the practical implications of research in different disciplines
  • To consider how to¬†apply different ethnographic strategies and styles
  • To introduce students to qualitative audiovisual methods
  • To introduce ethnographic methods to non-anthropologists
  • To review the history of ethnographic research in anthropology and other social sciences

This module is not assessed.

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