Answered By: Library Staff
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2017     Views: 2339

1. What is an Ethnography?

An ethnography is a first-hand descriptive work of a particular culture or ethnic group based on the immersion and participation of the anthropologist in the culture and daily life of the people who are the subject of study. 

Please be aware that with the following sources, there is no automatic filter for enthographies, so you will often have to examine the text of the item to see if it does include first hand descriptive work based on immersion.


2. Finding Ethnographies

2A. Online Sources:

A. Getting started: Use one of the following encyclopedias of culture, which will describe the culture and often list book length ethnographies as sources (which you can then pursue in our OneSearch to see if we have them).

Countries and Their Cultures
Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life
Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America

B. Search the eHRAF World Cultures  (Human Relations Area Files) database, which does have full text ethnographies.  eHRAF covers about 230 of the more obscure cultures.

C. Online Journals - You can browse or search through these:

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

2B. Searching OneSearch for Book length Ethnographies:

Keyword Searches Examples
Name of a people or ethic group with the word string  social life and customs

Navajo social life and customs

Muslim women social life and customs

Name of a geographic entitiy with the word string  social life and customs Tunisia social life and customs
Name of a people, combined with a geographic entity AND the term social life and customs.

Note the use of "or"  between the name of the people and the geographic entity and the use of the parenthesis.
(blackfeet or great basin) and social life and customs
Name of people or geographic entity and some anthropolgical term indians of north america kinship
south america marriage customs
Name of a people or geographic entity and the word stem ethnol**

muslim women ethnol** 

china ethnol**

OneSearch results for ethnographies are very inexact and you must examine the books themselves to see if they are really ethnographies.

We do own some classic book length ethnographies:

As listed in: Robinson-Caskie, Erin Elizabeth. "Ethnography." Encyclopedia of Anthropology. 2005. SAGE Publications. 5 Apr. 2011. < >

and some other book length ethnographies:

2C. Go to Goodread's list of popular ethnography books; there may be some books listed here that are ethnographies. Once you have chosen a title, do a title search in OneSearch to see if we have it.

2D. For some sections of ANT 102 (Rachele), even though your assignment may say to "choose an ethnography" your instructor wants you to search for cultural anthropology case studies or case studies in cultural anthropology (choose one that deals with a specific nationality or ethnic group).

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