SOCS5002 Advanced Qualitative Methods: Ethnography

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Ethnography, or participant observation, is an established method across the social sciences. This unit explores the production of ethnographic data and its uses across a range of social contexts. In a seminar setting, students read and analyse a range of examples of ethnographic research, and the theory behind this methodological approach. The unit may explore the following: (1) the connection of explanatory theories to methods of research; (2) methods of studying and interpreting everyday life—participant observation (everyday life as field research), questioning, recording, note-taking; (3) eliciting and interpreting accounts of social life—semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, genealogies, family histories, participatory social research; (4) observing and interpreting categories and symbols; (5) using information technology resources to source methods and explanations; (6) engaging with innovative and interdisciplinary research methodologies and issues; and (7) how to use ethnography to engage in cross-cultural analysis. Students have an opportunity to engage in ethnographic research as part of the unit.
Students are able to (1) describe and apply, at an advanced level, the key conceptual and methodological aspects of ethnography; (2) understand, critique and engage with ethnographic research skills; (3) engage with the range of ethnographic methodologies and appreciate their relevance to the practice of social research; (4) problematise assumptions about cause and meaning in social science; (5) defend the value of the qualitative program in social science; (6) understand how ethnographers engage with unusual situations and address ill-defined problems; (7) understand ethical issues for the practice of ethnography; (8) undertake theoretically informed participant observation; and (9) develop a written and oral capacity to present clear, well-documented arguments, drawing on both theory and empirical material.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a research essay; (2) an ethnographic exercise; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Martin Forsey
Unit rules
Advisable prior study:
for Social Research Methods students: ANTH4103 Knowing Social Realities: Theoretical Foundations, SOCS5003 Research Design, SOCS5005 Social Research Ethics
ANTH3001 Advanced Qualitative Methods: Ethnography
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week
Unit Outline
Semester 2_2019 [SEM-2_2019]
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