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Tyrone Curtis
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Methods Summer Programme
London School of Economics
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London WC2A 2AE

Email: summer.methods@lse.ac.uk|
Tel: +44 (0)20 3199 5379

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Ethnographic Methods and Practice


Elena Gonzalez-Polledo  Alasdair Jones

Dates:  24-28 August 2015

2014 Tuition fees 
Standard rate: £1500
Academic rate: £890

*The 2015 tuition fees will be published on the website soon*

Dr Elena Gonzalez-Polledo|
Dr Alasdair Jones|
Department of Methodology

The purpose of this one-week course is to provide an intensive training in contemporary ethnographic methods and practice. During the course students will learn how to design and conduct ethnographic fieldwork, integrate ethnography into mixed-methods designs and analyse ethnographic data. The focus will be on the application of this set of methods to understanding real world issues in context, and connections between traditional forms of ethnographic enquiry and emergent visual, digital, and material methods will be emphasised.

This course is aimed at postgraduates, researchers and professionals who are interested in using ethnographic research methods to understand social settings, relationships and practices.

Course Benefits
This course will provide students with:

  • an understanding of how to design and carry out a practicable piece of ethnographic research
  • an awareness of contemporary developments in the theory and practice of ethnographic studies
  • hands-on experience of the collection and analysis of ethnographic fieldwork
  • an emphasis on practical approaches to making ethnography part of successful theoretical and applied research
  • specialised teaching by researchers experienced with using ethnographic methods in a variety of projects

Applicants must be at postgraduate level or higher. Experience of undertaking social research (in particular qualitative research) and familiarity with ethnographic approach and writings is desirable but not required.

Over the course of a week, this course will cover core components of the ethnographic approach. Starting with an introduction to ethnographic methods, the course will guide students through research design, data gathering and analysis, as well as relevant ethical issues, emphasising connections between traditional forms of ethnographic enquiry and emergent visual, digital, and material methods and epistemologies. Students will therefore learn about a range of contemporary ethnographic approaches, how to design and conduct ethnographic fieldwork and how to analyse ethnographic data.

Course topics will be premised on the view that ethnographic methods cannot only provide a deep understanding of the social life of a particular ‘field,’ but also that they can offer a unique perspective into wider societal relations. Through a practice-based approach, and a focus on contemporary developments in ethnographic methods, this course will provide a solid methodological foundation for using ethnographic research to understand real-world issues in context.

Teaching will be delivered by research-active qualitative researchers who have used a range of ethnographic methods in their research to date and who are proponents of the use of ethnography in academic and applied research settings alike. The course will comprise lectures and seminars, as well as a London-based field trip in the middle of the week, and interaction between the course leaders and participants will be prioritised throughout.

Teaching Schedule
The following teaching schedule is indicative only, and is subject to change.

Week 1
  Monday   Tuesday Wednesday  Thursday  Friday 
Lecture topic
Introduction to ethnography Participant observation  Visual and digital methods in ethnography  Multi-sited ethnographic approaches  Ethics and contemporary developments

An optional 2-hour examination will take place on the final afternoon.

Main Texts
Burawoy, M. (1991) Ethnography Unbound: Power and Resistance in the Modern Metropolis. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Law, J. (2004) After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. London: Routledge.
Lury, C and Wakeford, N (2012) Inventive Methods: the Happening of the Social. London and NY: Routledge.
Rogers, R (2013) Digital Methods. Cambridge MA: MIT.
Seale, C., Gobo, G., Gubrium, J.F. and Silverman, D (2012) Qualitative Research Practice. London: Sage.
Van Maanen, J (2011) Tales of the Field, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.