Ethnography is the study of social groups, interactions, cultures and communities. As a method is was popular at the turn of the 20th Century for the study of remote and rural groups and has become more popular once more. Using an ethnographic approach researchers attempt to document and observe certain cultures, practises and interactions. In order to do so there researchers have to submerse themselves within the culture and/or group under study and so go ‘into the field’.
Ethnographic studies have now been conducted upon a whole range of rural and urban settings and is used within varied disciples. It is popular in areas such as sociology, anthropology but also history, psychology and policy. The aim of an ethnography is to provide a rich and holistic insight including environmental and social factors.
Typically an ethnography would include a consideration of the history, analysis of the terrain, the climate, the habitat and should be highly reflexive. All observed behaviour should be recorded and descriptions to the symbols and meanings made descriptively clear.