Hide menu

Etnografic methods


Status Archive
School Nationell Forskarskola i Kognitionsvetenskap (SweCog)
Owner Åsa Kärrman

The course is given by SweCog, the national graduate school in Cognitive Science.
The course is given in English if there are student who do not speak Swedish.
The course may include travel to other Universities in Sweden. SweCog pays for travel and accomodation ONLY for gradute student in SweCog.
Other students are welcome to the course but must finance the travel by other means.

  Log in  

Course plan

No of Lectures

The course consists of 4 full day sessions, 10-16, in Linköping, during November 2, 16 and 30 and December 14, 2012.

The sessions will look like this:
10-12 workshop
12-13 lunch
13-15 Lecture, ethnografic methods
15-16 ’Guest lecture’

Before each meeting, the first excluded, 4 hours of own work assignments related to the course is included.

Recommended for

Research students within SweCog.

The course was last given

Spring 2009.


The course aims to introduce ethnographic methods as used in the field of cognitive science.
Ethnographic methods are characterized by participant observation, fieldwork, culture relativistic
perspectives and by a focus on social micro levels. The interaction between perspectives of the
informant and the researcher is central.




The course includes the following sessions:
Introduction to ethnographic methods. We discuss the possibilities and limitations of ethnographic
methods. An overview of the developments of the methods within anthropology is given, historically
as well as contemporary.
Ethnographic methods in practice. Ethnographic methods will be practiced and analyzed in
assignments, which provide the basis for further assignments throughout the course. Focus will be
SweCog 2(3)
Nationell Forskarskola i Kognitionsvetenskap 2011-11-23
placed on interviews and participant observation, but alternative ways of ethnographic methods are
also discussed.
Ethnographic data. How can ethnographic data be used - during fieldwork, in analyzing, and in
reporting? This session is based on material prepared in advance by teachers as well as students.
Reflexivity and data. In this session we discuss the different roles entailed in ethnographic methods.
The aim of the session is to create a critical awareness about the importance of interaction between the
researcher(s) and the informant(s) for the data.
Problems of the field. We discuss the practical and personal problems that may arise in using
ethnographic methods, and suggest solutions.
Technical aids. We present an overview of, and discuss, pros and cons of different technical aids in
ethnographic methods.
Ethical aspects of ethnographic methods. The ethical norms that have developed among users of
ethnographic methods are discussed in this session.


Agar, Michael 1996 The Professional Stranger: An Informal Introduction to Ethnography. 2nd edition. San Diego: Academic Press.

Additional litterature that you may want to read

Amit-Talai, Vered (ed.)
1999 Constructing Field: Ethnographic Fieldwork in Contemporary World. Routledge.
Olika antropologers och andra samhällsvetares erfarenheter från fältarbeten.

Bloch, Maurice 1998 How we think they think. Anthropological approaches to cognition, memory, and literacy. Westview Press.
En samling artiklar av en av de mest läsvärda i kognitiv antropologi.

Bloch, Maurice 2005 Essays on cultural transmission. Berg.

A collection of articles in kognitiv antropologi that you may also would like to read

Dewalt, K & Dewalt, B 2002 Participant observation. A guide for fieldworkers. Altamira Press.

Emerson, R, Fretz, R & Shaw, L
1995 Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. The University of Chicago Press.
Hammersley, M & Atkinson, P 2007 Etnography. Principles in practice. Routledge

Hannerz, Ulf
1983 ’Tre fältstudier’, i Över gränser. Studier i socialantropologi. LiberFörlag.
Om Hannerz tre olika fält och de metoder han använde där.

Robben, A & Sluka, J (eds.) 2007 Ethnographic fieldwork. An anthropological reader. Blackwell Publishing.
Texter som behandlar olika aspekter av fältarbete.

And some sites that could be useful

Qualitative Research http://qrj.sagepub.com/ provides a much needed forum for the discussion of research methods, in particular qualitative research, across the social sciences and cultural studies. The journal features papers with a methodological focus, discussed in relation to specific empirical studies and research problems and papers raising philosophical, theoretical, historical or ideological debates about qualitative research.
Adress till RESEARCH METHODS RESOURCES ON THE WWW http://www.slais.ubc.ca/RESOURCES/research_methods/index.htm

Dr. Laura Zimmer-Tamakoski's 'The Anthropologist in the Field' http://www.theanthropologistinthefield.com/


Björn Alm, Fabian Segelström


Björn Alm


The course is examined by written session assignments and by a final, comprehensive, written

För att examineras som godkänd på kursen krävs
a) ett aktivt deltagande på kursträffarna
b) fullgjorda arbetsuppgifter
c) ett självständigt arbete, som med fokus på metod ska vara knuten till ett eget projekt. Detta arbete ska basera sig på minst 10 h fältstudier, omfatta 10-15 sidor, och lämnas in senast den 18 januari, 2013.


7,5 hp

Page responsible: Director of Graduate Studies