Media Research

Week 8- Ethnography

Ethnography refers to qualitative research methods used to to study people and their cultures.

Ethnographic methods of social research were developed within the discipline of anthropology (the study of ‘mankind’)

Anthropologists study cultures from the inside. Researchers immerse themselves in a culture in order to study its laws, habits, customs, rituals, etc.

Takes the qualitative an interviews, one stage further; researcher goes into ‘field’.


-neutrally collected

-professional distance/no interference or intervention

-small side of what human beings do

Qualitative Data

-human beings are not rocks or plants/limited availability

-feelings, facts are unreliable

-much smaller numbers than quantitative data


In media studies, the ethnographic approach can be applied to the study of

-media audiences

-media organisation

-particular media profession, such as war correspondents or television producers


What lengths does the researcher go to follow the project?

-Going undercover only way to get information


-furthering knowledge


-can be replicated

-ethnographic cannot be reliable, non existent


-Don’t give people a box could not be valid

-Whether you found what you set out to find


-they are routines and schedules, picking a snapshot either getting an unusual week or usual week.

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