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Ethnography Research: Home

Use this guide for your Composition II Ethnography Research Assignment

This guide will help you research your chosen subculture for your ethnography assignment. Ethnographies can be found within most subject areas and will likely require you to consult multiple databases to locate books, videos, articles, etc. on your subculture. Navigate through this guide to learn more about the library resources available to you.

What Is an Ethnography?

"A methodological approach that seeks to provide immersive and holistic analyses of social phenomena. Empirical material is usually generated by participant observation undertaken over an extended period of time (several months or more) and in-depth interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, complemented by other techniques such as a hermeneutic reading of documents and artefacts (such as manuals, email exchanges, visual materials, work spaces, etc.) and time diaries. In essence, ethnography seeks a nuanced understanding of the lifeworld of a community—its social relations, its rhythms, its cultural norms, its patterns of power and decision-making, its ways of being, and so on—in order to comprehend the many relations between multiple actors and the material world they occupy and how such relations are constituted and continuously unfold. The researcher goes beyond surface descriptions (what is seen and heard), and seeks to gain a deeper understanding of why it is happening by being part of the relations and practices being studied. It is usual for the questions ethnographers ask to change over time, along with their analytical focus, as they engage with and learn more about a community, institution, or subculture."

Rogers, Alisdair, Noel Castree, and Rob Kitchin. "ethnography." A Dictionary of Human Geography. Oxford University Press, 2013. Oxford Reference, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

Getting Started with TCC Library's Discovery Catalog

TCC Library's online catalog, Discovery, is great place to start your research. You can find books, ebooks, videos, articles, and more! Access Discovery from the Library homepage at

Select the image below to open the search results for "Ethnography" (opens in a new window)

Tips for using Discovery:

  • Select a title in the search results to view a description and summary of the work
  • try related terms, like ethnology, culture, or customs
  • add your subculture to the search.
    • For example, if you're studying K-pop fans, you could search for k-pop culture
  • If you aren't getting the right results on your subculture, try adding quotation marks around the keyword or phrase.
    • For example, "k-pop" 
  • Use an asterisk * to find variations of the same root word.
    • For example, ethnograph* would also show search results for ethnography, ethnographies, ethnographic, etc.
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