Ethnography is a research methodology and participant observation is a specific research technique. Many anthropologists consider ethnography and participant observation as approaches that are both crucial and unique to anthropology. So what do they mean?
The term ethnography stems for the Greek words ethnos (people or nation) and grapho (writing). A contemporary definition is the detailed study of humans and cultures. Ethnography is similar to qualitative research in many ways but it is generally more involved and conducted over a much longer period of time than commercial qualitative research. Ethnography can include a variety of research techniques such as interviews, discussions, and observations of behaviour. However many anthropologists regard participant observation as the most ethnographic research technique. So what is participant observation?
Participant observation requires that the anthropologist rolls up their sleeves and participates as well observing. Participant observation is a detailed and immersive research method and is inspired by Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the pioneering forefathers of anthropology who spent several years living with Western Pacific Islanders during the First World War.
I am looking for open and communicative folk who are interesting in getting involved. Although this project will kick off with some interviews and questionnaires. I will be looking for participants who are interested in keeping in touch over a longer period of time.
That said I am realistic about the amount of time people might have to give and am happy to discuss what would work for you.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me and I can talk you through what would be involved. You can email me at: