Our goal in our ethnographic research is to see the world and challenge, from the perspective of another person. We want to hear stories and observe actions that help us see people’s behavior, motivations, beliefs, and feelings. – Stanford D. School Ethnography Field Guide
Ethnography is a very broad perspective on how we can best understand the people and cultures around us. In this way, it offers a focus for integrating many different methods you can find in our MethodsBase.
Ethnographies can be:
Descriptive: Simply trying to describe what is happening in a community
Comparative: Comparing the behavioral or cultural diversity within and between different communities.
Participatory: Engaging the communities that are being studied in the processs itself.
Critical / Design-focused: Seeking to undertsand and improve the conditions or systems that influence behavior and culture in the communities of interest.
In community science projects, we often employ and connect all of these aims of ethnographic methods.