You are here

Doing Ethnography

Doing Ethnography

Second Edition

December 2016 | 352 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Doing Ethnography is invaluable reading for anyone collecting data through observation. Innovative and thought provoking, it is a refreshing take on ethnography stressing both academic rigor and practical necessity. It combines theoretical perspective with tangible action plans and walks you step-by-step through designing, conducting, and evaluating ethnographic research.

The book skilfully introduces the varied tasks and decisions you need to consider before entering the fieldhelping you to avoid common mistakes and to conduct safe, ethical research.

The redesigned Second Edition has cutting edge case studies and examples from across the social sciences and has an embedded awareness of the importance of digital research tools and social media. It also includes a detailed discussion of:

  • Autoethnography
  • Digital Ethnography
  • Visual Ethnography
  • Feminist Ethnography
  • Managing and Analysing data

This is an ideal companion for every novice researcher.

Part One: The Methodology
What is Ethnography?
Method or Methodology? Locating Ethnography in the Methodological Continuum
Ethnography: Approaches, Methods and Personalities
Key Ethnographic Approaches
Research Design
Ethnographic Sample Design
Part Two: Working the Field
Entering the Field
Ethical Dilemmas
How to Observe
What to Observe: Social Structures, Talk-in-Interactions and Contexts
Ethnographic Interview
Ethnography as a Craft
Part Three: Analyzing Ethnographic Data and Theory Building
Coding and Analyzing Ethnographic Data
Politics of Accountability
Part Four: Audiences
Communicating Findings, Writing Ethnographies
Leaving the Field
The ‘Visual Society’: A Chance for Applied Ethnography

In this elegant how-to book, the authors expand and deepen our understanding of ethnography and provide novices with a set of exercises and hands-on ways for getting the seat of their pants dirty in the social world. It explores emerging methodological approaches and challenges in ethnography, like studying people for whom life often happens more online than off it. Like a good cookbook, what it does best is simple: it makes you want to get into the kitchen. 


Iddo Tavory
Department of Sociology, New York University

This excellent, informative second edition extensively revises the text with a range of contemporary examples and case studies, more diverse readings for each chapter and an expanded section on visual and online ethnographies. An accessible and comprehensive introduction to ethnography and the key authors and ideas in the field, this is highly suitable for post graduates and established qualitative researchers.

Amanda Bingley
Health Research, Lancaster University

The book is very well-written and I might use it for a later course. This particular course however is for beginner students. Hence I am not adopting it at the moment.

Dr Lakshmi Balachandran Nair
School of Management, Luiss Guido Carli University
April 20, 2021

Sample Materials & Chapters

Gobo - Doing Ethnography - Chapter 1

Giampietro Gobo

Giampietro Gobo is Professor of Methodology of Social Research and Sociology of Science at the University of Milan (Italy). He was one of the founders of the ‘Qualitative Methods’ Research Network of the European Sociological Association. His interests concern scientific controversies on health issues and workplace studies. He is currently undertaking projects on immunization and COVID-19 policies, and ethnographic experiments in the area of cooperation in small teamwork. His books include Doing Ethnography (Sage, 2008), Qualitative Research Practice (co-edited with C. Seale, J. F. Gubrium and D. Silverman, Sage, 2004) and ... More About Author

Andrea Molle

Dr. Andrea Molle holds a PhD in Sociology from the Universita’ degli Studi di Milano. Between 2006 and 2008 he conducted extensive ethnographic research in Japan. Fellow of the “Japan Society for the Promotion of Science” and the “Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland,” his current research agenda focuses on cross-cultural studies of new religions, implicit religion practices and behaviour, the paranormal, religious violence, and martial arts and warfare studies. His methodological interests include the intersection between ethnography and computational tools for the study of social complexity. He has published a book on new... More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781412962261
ISBN: 9781412962254

SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.