Introduction to Ethnographic Methods


Two day, Foundation level. London. Price for SRA members: £405

*Prices for 2019 two day courses have increased to £540; SRA members receive a 25% discount, paying £405.00*

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This course introduces participants to the principals and practicalities of ethnographic methods. Ethnography is being widely used for diverse problems, in creative ways that respond to social and technological developments. This is a practical course, designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills required to undertake intensive fieldwork; that is, to immerse themselves in a setting for a period of time, to listen, to ask questions; and to supplement observation with the analysis of interview data, documents, and visual and digital data. The goal is to equip participants to produce valid, valuable, and rich data with which to address complex social issues.

Course objectives: By the end of the course participants should:

  • • Be able to make close, theory-oriented observations through participation, observation, and conversation.
  • • Be equipped to record and analyse the data produced through diverse ethnographic methods
  • • Take a critical and creative approach to ethnographic methods and understand how they can be combined with other methods of data collection for a range of social, political and policy research areas.
  • • Be in a position to defend the validity and reliability of ethnographic interpretations.

Topics covered

  • • The key principles of ethnography
  • • Classic and contemporary approaches
  • • The practicalities of ethnography
  • • Doing participant observation
  • • Accessing the field
  • • Creating fieldnotes
  • • Ethnographic interviews and conversations
  • • Analysing observational data
  • • Writing rich and reliable research reports
  • • Ethical issues and reflexivity in relation to ethnographic methods

Who will benefit

The course rapidly takes participants from a basic understanding of what ethnography is and how it is applied to the level of being able to put their knowledge and skills to practice in diverse settings. It is expected that participants will have a specific field, topic or application in mind for applying an ethnographic approach. Some prior familiarity with qualitative methods, such as a design course and some training in methods such as interviewing and focus groups, is essential.

Course Tutor

Karen O'Reilly is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Loughborough University and a Freelance Researcher. She has taught ethnographic and qualitative methods for over 25 years, including the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Collection and Analysis, the Swiss Summer School in Social Science Methods, in Lugano; at the Universities of Aberdeen, Essex, Loughborough and Oxford; and in Germany, Norway and Hong Kong. Her experience also includes being a Member of the Advisory Board of the NCRM biannual Research Methods Festival 2011-2012; and a member of the ESRC Peer Review College 2012 – 2016.

Karen is a highly experienced ethnographer whose many publications include two widely cited books on ethnography: Ethnographic Methods (Routledge, 2nd ed. 2012) and Key Concepts in Ethnography (Sage, 2009). She has also been instrumental in the design and evaluation of Masters level Research Methods courses and programmes in a number of universities. Karen provides short courses for the SRA on a regular basis.

Price for SRA members: £405. Use the discount code emailed to you.

VAT is not charged for SRA courses.

If you are unsure of your code, or haven't received one, please contact us.

Want to book 2+ people at the same time? Get in touch: admin[at]the-sra[dot]

Registration on the day is from 9.00 - 9.30 am.


Cancellation policy: Full refund if cancelled 21 days or more from the course date.  No refund if cancelled 20 days or fewer from the course date.

Registrations for this course will not be accepted after 18 June 2019 at noon.

Price: £540.00

Start Time: 9:15 am
End Time: 5:00 pm

Start Date: June 19, 2019
End Date: June 20, 2019

Registration Details

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