Ethnographic Methods

The term ethnography describes both a literary genre (writings that attempt to capture people's cultural beliefs/practices) and a qualitative research methodology (a way of collecting social scientific data based on long-term, face-to-face interactions). In the current era, ethnographic analysis seems to have lost some of its authority, especially since human genomics and the statistical analysis of massive data sets are privileged in the search for contemporary solutions to social problems. Even still, ethnography is alive and well and can be used to inform medical decision making.

Data Collection

Anthropology and sociology are the two academic disciplines that traditionally cornered the market on ethnographic methods, but other social sciences have become more interested in the kinds of nuanced information that is gathered during intimate and ongoing interactions between ...

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