Skip to Main Content


Resources in Anthropology and interdisciplinary areas to start your research

Email this link:

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

Ethnographic 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")  ​

Ethnographic Film

Selected Titles