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Ethnography Defined

The first-hand, comprehensive, written description of different peoples and their customs (literally, “nation-writing,” from the Greek), focusing on a particular population, place and time, with the goal of accurately describing that culture or ethnic group.  This first-hand account is produced through participant observation of the culture or group.

The term covers both the object produced (“she has written an ethnography of the Arawak people”) and the processes and methods of producing it (“what is the future of ethnography?”).

The ethnographic monograph has long been a staple vehicle of anthropological research and theory, and the earliest genuine ethnographies, in this sense, developed in the mid-19th century.  

Concise Dictionary of Social and Cultural Anthropology, 2012

Find Ethnographies

Kanopy Ethnography Collection

DocuSeek2 Ethnography Subject Search

EVIA Digital Archive
Freely available ethnographic field videos for use by scholars and instructors.  All users are asked to create an account in order to access content. 


Ethnography Books
These are scattered throughout the UCI Libraries' collection, and they do not necessarily have the word ethnography in their title.  In Library Search, try searching the catalog adding this to a keyword search:  

AND (ethnograph* OR ethnolog* OR "case study")  

  • asterisk* finds every ending to a word, quotes find words in an exact sequence.  
  • Example:  American Indians AND (ethnograph* OR ethnolog* OR "case study")  ​