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Being Ethnographic

Being Ethnographic
A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Ethnography

Other Titles in:
Ethnography | Qualitative Research

216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Full of practical 'how to' tips for applying theoretical methods - 'doing ethnography' - this book also provides anecdotal evidence and advice for new and experienced researchers on how to engage with their own participation in the field - 'being ethnographic'.

Being Ethnographic clearly sets out the important definitions, methods and applications of field research while reinforcing the infinite variability of the human subject and addressing the challenges presented by ethnographers' own passions, intellectual interests, biases and ideologies.

Classic and personal real-world case studies are used by the author to introduce new researchers to the reality of applying ethnographic theory and practice in the field. Topics include:

  • Talking to People: negotiations, conversations & interviews
  • Being with People: participation
  • Looking at People: observations & images
  • Description: writing 'down' field notes
  • Analysis to Interpretation: writing 'out' data
  • Interpretation to Story: writing 'up' ethnography

Clear, engaging and original this book provides invaluable advice as well as practical tools and study aids for those engaged in ethnographic research.

'Definitions', Methods and Applications
Ethnographic Fields: Home and Away
Talking to People: Negotiations, Conversations and Interviews
Being with People: Participation
Looking at People: Observations and Images
Description: Writing 'down' Fieldnotes
Analysis to Interpretation: Writing 'out' Data
Interpretation to Story: Writing 'up' Ethnography
Conclusion: Ethnographic Horizons

'Raymond Madden is to be congratulated for writing a highly readable, well organized introduction to ethnography. Most of the duller orthodoxies that normally feature in such texts are avoided, and canny tips sit comfortably next to case studies. Being Ethnographic is an enjoyable and valuable book that endorses the integrity of ethnographic research, and most importantly, makes it interesting' - Dick Hobbs, LSE

'This is a simply fabulous text! It is well written and readable, clearly organised (with coherent development), and highly illuminating. I will be recommending this to students in my research portfolio class and will make full use of this myself, in research and teaching' - Peter Sercombe, Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, Newcastle University

Very relevant for the course, engaging way of writing

Dr Hanne Kirstine Adriansen
Department of Educational Anthropology, Aarhus University
February 10, 2016

Excellent practical introductory guide to ethnography; accessible and easy to digest by undergraduate students.

Ms Kelsey Johansen
Anthropology, Lakehead Univ
October 2, 2015

This book was easy to read and very understandable. It is really useful for both novice and more experienced researchers.
For anyone embarking on an ethnographic research project, this is must.

Mrs Donna Lewis
School of Health (Burton), Wolverhampton University
May 27, 2015

Necessary reading for everyone who is interested in ethnographic research

Mrs Ritie Van Rooijen
Instituut Pedagogiek, Hogeschool Utrecht
March 30, 2015

Theoretical and practical content for students

Mrs Ritie van Rooijen
Instituut Pedagogiek, Hogeschool Utrecht
September 4, 2015

Very accessible and practical

Ms Cat Meredith
Faculty of Health, Social Work & Educ, Northumbria University
August 4, 2014

Excellent book for all health professions and for all levels of research students. Easy to read

Ms Sheila Stott
Sch of Health,Community & Educ Studies, Northumbria University
November 27, 2013

Gives useful practical advice to students entering 'the field', written in an engaging and accessible style.
Covers key issues, taking students from the underpinnings of ethnographic methods and ethics through to doing fieldwork and the writing up process.

Dr Emma-Jayne Abbots
School of Humanities, University of Wales, Trinity St David
July 11, 2013

This is a very worthwhile contribution to expanding the conceptual and practical skillset of social science researchers. It stimulates students to explore beyond the familiar, if sometimes narrow and rigid, confines of the quantitive approach while retaining the discipline of evidence based theory and objectivity. Raymond Madden rises to this challenge with admirable clarity and insight.
Dr Michael J. Anderson
Institute for British Irish Studies
School of Politics and International Relations
University College Dublin

Dr Michael Anderson
Political Science , University College Dublin
June 29, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter One

Raymond Madden

Raymond Madden is an anthropologist in the School of Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. He has taught ethnographic methods, applied anthropology, and human and animal anthropology for over a decade. He published textbook, Being Ethnographic in 2010 and a second edition in 2017 (SAGE). He has also worked extensively in the area of native title research in South East Australia and has an emerging interest in human and animal sociality. More About Author