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CRES 110 - Methods in CRES (Baker)

What is an ethnography?

Put simply, an ethnography or ethnographic study is an in-depth study of the social mores, customs, interpersonal relationships, and structures of a group of people. It's characterized by participant observation -- that is, the ethnographer lives among the group under observation, observes carefully and takes notes, and then writes up those observations.

Finding ethnographies in UC Library Search

Searching for ethnographies in library catalogs and discovery tools like UC Library Search can be tricky. Usually, it's just a matter of searching for "ethnography" as a keyword. However, there are many uses for the term "ethnography" that have little to do with Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, or any field addressing human culture. Complicating the matter is that there's no single subject term for ethnographies in the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

The closest subject heading to "ethnography" in our library's discovery tool, UC Library Search, is "social life and customs." Join this term with the name of a group of people to search for ethnographies about those people. To do this, use the "Advanced Search" in UC Library Search.

On the library's main page, click the UC Library Search logo:

On the next page, click "Advanced Search."

Let's say we were looking for ethnographies of the Navajo Indians of the southwestern United States. Your search should indicate that "Navajo" is a subject, and "social life and customs" is also a subject. Click the down arrow next to "Any field" and choose "Subject." Then enter the name of the people you're researching (in this case, Navajo).

Your final search strategy should look like this: