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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

Being Ethnographic is a great introductory text for undergraduates or people who are new to anthropology. The text clarifies the key issues of ethnography while still maintaining an appreciation for the critical complexity from where they arise.

Mr John Aitken
May 11, 2013

An excellent and easy to read book, ideal background reading for those who wish to pursue ethnographic fieldwork and for students who hope to specialise in that area.

Mr Simon Bishop
Science, Technologyand Health, University Campus Suffolk
March 13, 2013

This is a very insightful introduction for students to ethnographic research.

Mr Lee Tucker
Carnegie Faculty of Sports & Education, Leeds Metropolitan University
March 12, 2013

This is practical guide for university college students in learning to apply ethonographic methods. The text gives a comprehensive idea of the approach, while simoultaneously not diggining too deep in the theory.
I warmy recommend this book as a rapid introduction to the issue.

Dr Auli Guilland
Service, Laurea Polytechnic
March 6, 2013

This book is well written, concise and informative. The book is excellent for students new to the field as concepts such as reflexivity, ethics and research relationships are explore and executed very well. It also provides practical advice on how to conduct ethnography in the field and how to, and the challenges of writing notes in the field. It also has good critical engagement with the analysis of ethnographic text discussions around how to code ethnographic transcripts and generate themes, which is often a challenge for guide books about methodology. This book has been executed beautifully and is highly recommended for researchers new to the ethnographic field.

Dr Emma Rowland
School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London
February 7, 2013

useful to explore the process of ethnography in depth, to provide methodological support for our undergraduates undertaking research for their dissertations

Ms Babs Anderson
Education , Liverpool Hope University
January 24, 2013

This book is a comprehensive and informative guide to ethnography. It is a useful book and certainly recommended reading as additional material.

Mrs Amanda O'Shea
School of Education, Roehampton University
January 9, 2013

This book covers an interesting research method in a concise manner with engaging examples

Mr Christopher Fitzgerald
Faculty of Development & Society, Sheffield Hallam University
October 9, 2012

This book is accessible and will be a good resource for my students. The focus of each chapter is clear and logical initially defining essential terms and they ways of looking at people through to writing and interpreting ethonographic work. I think this will help to give clarity of the quagmire my students often find themselves

Mrs Georgina Lovett
Education and Public Services, Gloucestershire University
August 12, 2012

Suitable for our move into interpretive methodologies.

Mr Stephen Gibbs
Huddersfield University Business Schl, Huddersfield University
May 25, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter One

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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

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