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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Ethnographic Methods in Practice - JSM499
Title: Ethnographic Methods in Practice
Guaranteed by: Department of Sociology (23-KS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2022 to 2023
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 7
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unlimited / unlimited (15)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Additional information:
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: doc. Mgr. Jakub Grygar, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): doc. Mgr. Jakub Grygar, Ph.D.
Mgr. Ema Hrešanová, Ph.D.
Mgr. Andrea Hrůzová, Ph.D.
Dr. phil. Agata Ładykowska
doc. Alessandro Testa, Ph.D.
Incompatibility : JSM590
Is incompatible with: JSM590
Enrolment in the course is in priority open to students of the study programmes Sociology (specialization Social Anthropology and Qualitative Research) and Sociology of Contemporary Societies).

Ethnography is a research process based on the data produced in the field through the active participation of the researcher in the field. The course introduces students to the different forms of this research participation, the various forms of fieldwork and the variety of data that can become the subject of research interest. Students are introduced to multiple ethnographic approaches through a twofold process.

In the first part of the course, students are introduced to different ethnographic approaches through lectures. The presentation draws on both the literature introducing the epistemological embeddedness of the ethnographic approach in question and the research experience of the lecturer.

In the second part of the course, students practice one of the ethnographic approaches introduced. In collaboration with the course assistants, students become acquainted with the field and the research topic of the assistants and develop the preferred research method under their supervision. Alternatively, students can use the chosen research method to generate data for their own research project or thesis.
Last update: Grygar Jakub, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (30.01.2023)
Aim of the course

In this class, students will gain a broadened perspective on different understandings of ethnographic research and methodological approaches to the subject of ethnographic inquiry. In particular, the students will:

  • understand ethnography as a research process embedded in epistemology;
  • understand the multiplicity of ethnographic research and its variations;
  • understand the unique experiences of ethnographic research; and
  • train skills in data collection and interpretation.
Last update: Grygar Jakub, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (29.01.2023)
Course completion requirements

Course Requirements

  1. Presence in the class.
  2. Knowledge of the obligatory reading to the whole course: HAMMERSLEY, Martyn - ATKINSON, Paul. 2007. Ethnography: Principles in Practice. London: Routledge.
  3. One intermediate test. The test examines knowledge of the required readings to particular lectures in the first half of semester.
  4. Fieldwork under supervison of teaching assistants.
  5. Workshop with own presentation of the fieldwork findings. 
  6. A research paper (2 500 words max.) deeply exploring one concrete ethnographic approach. The paper must be based on knowledge and critical debate of obligatory reading + relevant literature to the choosen ethnographic approach. For instructions on writing a critical debate please look here.

Evaluation Criteria of the Research Paper

  1. The paper adheres to the chosen ethnographic approach.
  2. The creativity of subject matter or approach.
  3. Evidence of understanding topic issues. Does the paper give the reader a clear overall picture of what is being discussed?
  4. Introduction section: problem, objective, methodology (explain how the objective will be achieved), the organization of the paper.
  5. Discussion sections are properly labelled and detailed. Quality of organization and discussion. Clear and effective methodology.
  6. Findings/application section.
  7. The conclusion section summarizes arguments and states recommendations. Accuracy of conclusions.
  8. References are cited correctly in the text.

Course Policies

  • Class begins on time; students are expected to be present at every session from the start to the end.
  • Students are encouraged to participate regularly in class discussions and bring the relevant readings and notes to the classes.
  • Students are expected to come to class having read texts indicated in the syllabus and ready to discuss them.
  • Students are expected to engage in academic honesty in all forms of work for this course.
  • Collaborating with other students is encouraged in cases of exchanging rough drafts for constructive criticism or brainstorming ideas for homework assignments, etc.; however, it is NOT allowed to take ideas from other students or from their works and call them your own, or to write homework assignments or take-home exams together.
  • It is NOT allowed to take ideas from any source without putting them in quotations and citing them, or by paraphrasing them. Please read How to avoid plagiarism.
  • Any student who misses more than one lecture without a valid medical excuse or due to other serious reasons will automatically be excluded from the course.
  • No late work is accepted unless the student asks for a deadline extension in advance. Extensions are provided only in cases of emergency (such as medical or serious family reasons).


The final grade for the class will be determined by the following:

  • Class attendance: 10%
  • Intermediate test: 30% (minimum score to pass: 10 out of 30 points)
  • Fieldwork and workshop participation: 30% (minimum score to pass: 15 out of 30 points)
  • Research paper: 30% (minimum score to pass: 15 out of 30 points)

100 - 91: A (Excellent. The student has shown excellent performance, originality and displayed an exceptional grasp of the subject.)
81 - 90: B (Very Good. The student understands the subject well and has shown some originality of thought. Above the average performance, but with some errors.)
71 - 80: C (Good. Generally sound work with a number of notable errors.)
61 - 70: D (Satisfactory. The student has shown some understanding of the subject matter, but has not succeeded in translating this understanding into consistently original work. Overall good performance with a number of significant errors.)
51 - 60: E (Sufficient. Acceptable performance with significant drawbacks. Performance meets the minimum requirements.)
50 - 0: F (Fail. The student has not succeeded in mastering the subject matter of the course.)


March 27: Intermediate test (Students may not write the test more than two times.)
May 22: Workshop presentationsJune 15: Research paper (Students may not submit the research paper more than three times.)

Last update: Grygar Jakub, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (29.01.2023)

HAMMERSLEY, Martyn - ATKINSON, Paul. 2007. Ethnography: Principles in Practice. London: Routledge.

COLLIER, Malcolm. 2001. Approaches to analysis in visual anthropology. In van Leeuwen, Theo & Jewitt, Carey (eds). Handbook of Visual Analysis. London: Sage. Pp. 35-60.

KEHR, Janina. 2018. Colonial Hauntings: Migrant Care in a French Hospital. Medical anthropology37(8), 659–673.

KIRKSEY, S.E. and HELMREICH, S. 2010. The Emergence of Multispecies Ethnography. Cultural Anthropology 25: 545-576.

MARCUS, George, E. 1995. Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology, 24: 95-117.

WUFF, Helena. 2002. Yo-Yo Fieldwork: Mobility and Time in a Multi-Local Study of Dance in Ireland. Anthropological Journal on European Cultures, n. 11, 2002, pp. 117-136.

Last update: Grygar Jakub, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (12.05.2023)

1. Introduction to the course

2. Ethnography There and Back Again
This lesson will focus on the constraints and problems of doing ethnography abroad, learning a new language, integrating in a different society, and facing the problems of being often “in-between” or having to move back and forth from “home” or the working place to the ethnographic fieldwork (or even having to triangulate between these different poles). Doing “yo-yo Fieldwork”, as Swedish Anthropologist Helena Wulff has called this. Case studies from the lecturer’s ethnographic fieldworks in Italy, Czechia, and Catalonia will also be presented and discussed.

3. Multi-Sited Ethnography
Problematisations of the homogeneity of space, time and social boundaries, articulated in the social sciences since the 1980s, have had a profound impact on the understanding of ethnographic research in social anthropology. The maxim expressed by the demand to "follow the actor" (Marcus) has gradually transformed not only ethnographic fieldwork itself but also how we perceive the relevant subjects/objects of our interest. In this lecture, we will focus on explaining the epistemological break in social theory that underpins multi-sited ethnography. We will also discuss methodological issues of the research process thus conceived based on insights from specific research.

4. Bounded Ethnography in Formal Organisations
With current developments of digital ethnography before and during the COVID19 pandemic, we sometimes get an impression that our bodies and corporealities set no limits to the scope of our research in terms of field sites. Yet, there are contexts in which our bodily activities and movements as well as what we are able and allowed to know are severely restricted. This lecture will focus on organizational ethnography. I will build on my own ethnographic research in hospitals and will talk about particularities of this kind of ethnographic project.

5. Visual Ethnography
Visual representations, especially photographs, videos, and illustrations, do not play a secondary role in the anthropogical research anymore. On contrary, since the emergence of the "visual turn"  in social sciences and humanities at the end of 1980´s, visuals have been understood as important data which are produced by both a researcher and research participants. The lecture introduces basic ethnographic methods which employ visual representations as their main analytical material. Specifically, the methods of photo/video-elicitation and photo/video-voice will be discussed. However, the same attention will be paid to how critical analysis of visuals produced by a researcher should be conducted with an insight into a compositional and an icolonological analysis.

6. Multi-Species Ethnography

7. - 12. Practice

13. Workshop

Last update: Grygar Jakub, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (12.05.2023)
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