Ethnography as a Research Approach: ‘Understanding’ and Inclusion

  • Kate MaguireEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


Ethnographic research is synonymous with anthropology, and anthropology has not yet succeeded in fully shedding the public perception of it as being something to do with tribes and isolated societies. However, today, ethnography, its preferred research approach, is used to explore all types of human behaviour in the full range of human society and activities from Asian banking to Russian tea rooms to European parliaments, from people in launderettes to black musicians to taxi drivers towomen working with the terminally ill. It has long prided itself on its observation skills and what became known in popular culture as the ‘prime directive’, that is non-intentional interference. It has gifted the notion of the participant observer to social science research methodologies which has evolved through various iterations into the insider researcher.

Researchers today would benefit from an exploration of Margaret Mead’s fieldwork that would challenge any idea that it is an easy option in research.


Ethnographic Research Taxi Driver European Parliament Visual Medium Participant Observer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© the Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Work Based LearningMiddlesex UniversityLondonUnited Kingdom

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