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How To Write An Essay From Ethnography

How To Write An Essay From Ethnography

How To Write An Essay From Ethnography

Ethnographic writing originated from the field of anthropology to give detailed accounts of the lives and practices of various cultures.  Researchers who aspire to create ethnographies of a particular culture immerse themselves in the experiences of that culture as a “participant observer.”  Research methods can also be referred to as ethnographic when they employ the creation of ethnographies as a research tool.

Tips

  • Read through the list you compiled from your field notes and identify which parts of your field notes interest and engage you most. Look at the larger arc. Are most of your points taken from your thoughts and feelings or are you more interested in the analysis observation?
  • Search for patterns in your list, and make a new list of those patterns. Keep an eye out for things that strike you as meaningful and interesting and that happen again and again.  As you explore patterns, also look for things connected to those patterns.  Find patterns within patterns. How do you connect ideas with language?  Do you seem to repeatedly use the same phrases?  When and with respect to what observations?  This may help identify relevant patters of observation.
  • From your list of patterns and connections, select the ONE larger idea/pattern that interests you most. You know you are on to something if you find a pattern and can see how it connects to other observations you have made during your research and /or to what other scholars or writers have said.
  • Take that one interesting idea/pattern and develop an “umbrella” statement or a broad focus statement. You can start, for drafting purposes, with something as simple as “In this paper, I will… (Discuss, explore, explain, analyze, etc.).”  Here you are articulating the big idea for your essay. You can always return to the statement to make is more sophisticated in the context of a focus paragraph later,
  • Expand that statement by breaking the pattern that you are focusing on into any number of supporting observations. Follow your initial broad or umbrella focus statement with that break down. “First, I will….Second…Third….” with each of those statements specifying the supporting material. These first, second, and third statements provide the framework for the body sections of your research essay.

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