Ethnography Essay Examples, Step by Step Guide to An Effective Essay.
Ethnography is a branch of science that studies the life, culture, beliefs, and communities of a particular ethnic group of inhabitants. In this article, we will guide you through writing a perfect ethnography essay; as well as ethnography essay examples to show you some samples while writing your essay.
Ethnography is a branch of science that studies the life, culture, beliefs, and communities of a particular ethnic group of inhabitants. It sounds fascinating on paper and is even more exciting in reality, which is why many students are excited to be tasked with writing an ethnography paper for their History, Social Studies, or Anthropology class.
However, an ethnography paper isn’t an easy task at all, because there are so many sides to any ethnographic concept that you need to take into account when working on a paper.
Some English instructors will assign an Ethnographic Essay for your English class. What is an Ethnographic Essay?
- It’s an essay that focuses on a group, culture or subculture
- It emphasizes close observation, interview, and field notes
- Additional research may be found through library resources
- Other guidelines will be explained to you by your instructor
Tips to Writing Ethnography Essay
Luckily, with our 5 tips, every student who says “I don’t know how to write my paper” will ace this challenge!
- Pick a topic you are familiar with or passionate about.
- Define your thesis from the very beginning. This is your guiding questions. Use the research to answer that question.
- You can keep the introduction for late, in order to craft it better.
- Outline your ethnography paper. Use is as a structural backbone and navigation system throughout the paper.
- Pay attention to your citations and references. Use the citation style recommended by your professor.
Step by Step Guide to An Effective Ethnography Essay
Step 1. Explore
The easiest way to make sure your writing goes smoothly and brings good results is to choose the right topic. Often students are given ethnography paper topics by their professors, but if you have any say in deciding what to write about, we recommend picking a topic that you’re either familiar with and passionate about or a topic that you’ve never worked with but that has captivated you from the start.
It can be a whole group of people or even just an idea – as long as it provokes your thoughts and stimulates you to do more research that will then be turned into a quality ethnography paper.
Step 2. Define your thesis
Choosing a topic for your paper is important, but you can’t write a several-page paper on a topic that is too broad. To write a good paper, you need to significantly narrow down your topic to a single thesis that will serve as the basis for your whole work.
Another common concept for writing an ethnography paper is often referred to as the guiding question. Ideally, you should set the guiding question after doing the research and use the thesis of the paper to answer that question. These two concepts will help you focus better on the subject of your work without getting distracted by minor issues.
Step 3. Introduction
In most ethnography paper writing guides, you will discover that it’s recommended to start your paper with an introduction that you will then use to keep to the structure of the paper and stay on topic. This strategy for writing a paper is completely viable and will deliver the expected results. However, many students find that they are more comfortable with leaving the introduction for later when they know for sure what their paper is about and can introduce its thesis in several sentences.
Step 4. Outline
A correctly written outline is like the backbone of the paper – you can always refer to it when you’re not sure what to do next and it serves as a navigation system for the potential readers of your paper.
The most common outline of an ethnography paper includes methodology, data analysis, and conclusion. Pay special attention to the methodology, where you need to introduce your readers to the ways you gathered the information for the research and what difficulties you encountered. Present your findings with interpretation in the data analysis part, and summarize your findings briefly in the conclusion.
Step 5. Final draft
After you finish working on the three main parts of your ethnography paper outline, move on to the additional sections like the title page and bibliography. Pay special attention to the references – many scholars specifically look for this part in any paper. Finally, proofread your work or have someone proofread it for you to prevent grammar or spelling mistakes from getting you a perfect score.
Ethnography Essay Examples
Reflexivity is a qualitative method of research that takes an ethnography one step further, displaying the personal thoughts and reflections of the anthropologist on his informants. Ethnographies generally take an outside or foreign perspective of a culture, like reading a text, and reflexivity introduces a new component of inside description.
Here, the anthropologist may describe personal interactions and experiences with natives and use this inside information to make additional conclusions about the people being studied. The ethnographer may also reflect on his ethnic connections with his informants, or his acceptance into the society, explaining that it provides valuable, inside knowledge of the
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Kondo writes, ” As a Japanese-American young woman doing fieldwork in Japan, the Other was not totally Other for me” (75). This ethnic connection played a primary role in her acceptance by a Japanese family and eventually by Japanese society. She describes that, “later in the summer, the wife confided to me that she would never have allowed a ‘true American’ to live with them.”
Living with the Japanese family taught Kondo the proper etiquette of a Japanese female and the longer she stayed in Japan the more she transformed. She gained an insider perspective because she gained cultural acceptance, although she was still viewed by many as another. Kondo began to develop relationships and soon after natives began to ask her to teach them English, and to attend several social gatherings.
As more people asked her favors she became irritated, but after a conversation with her landlady she realized that the “Japanese don’t treat themselves as important, they spend time doing things for the sake of maintaining good social relationships, regardless of their inner feelings” (81).
This realization had a strong impact on Kondo. Her reflections displayed so much about the Japanese culture in addition to her ethnography. It led her to shift her research from kinship and economics, ” to an even more basic cultural assumption: the nature of the person, and his/her
“In any war story, but especially a true one, it’s difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen.” – Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried It is not only war stories that create confusion, both for their writers, and their readers, about the nature of the truth they tell.
Is the truth in a “true” story what the writer experienced, or the truth of what “really” happened? If the story is about other people, is the truth what the writer sees them do, or what they think they are doing? If the writer does not know the whole truth, does the story become false? All these questions become even more pertinent if posed about ethnographies. An ethnography is, by nature, meant to be a description of a people (the dictionary
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Ethnography has undergone a process of drastic evolution (or, some might say, oscillation) in the century or so that it has existed as an anthropological tool. Many aspects of ethnography have changed between two extremes that I will term “traditional” ethnography and “postmodern” ethnography.
Everything from the declared goal of the anthropologist to the approach to possible objectivity or subjectivity of the anthropologist’s writing, from views on the concept of culture to the ethnography’s intended audience, even to choice of topic to explore, has changed.
I will explore these differences using Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead as an example of traditional ethnography, and Poetics of Military Occupation by Smadar Lavie as an example of postmodern ethnography.
Veiled Sentiments by Lila Abu-Lughod will serve as something of a mix, poised between the two extremes. I must first, however, explain my choice of “postmodern” as a label for the kind of ethnography that Smadar Lavie produced in 1990 (based on fieldwork done throughout the 70’s).
The aspect of postmodernism that I embrace in characterizing Poetics of Military Occupation as postmodern is postmodernism’s abandonment of the concept of an absolute truth. The definition of postmodernism offered by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler as “a worldview characterized by the belief that truth doesn’t exist in any objective sense but is created rather than discovered” serves well to illustrate the ways
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