Observational and Ethnographic Methods



Organised by:

The Qualitative Researcher


Dr Karen Lumsden


Intermediate (some prior knowledge)


Dr Karen Lumsden
Email: karen@qualitativetraining.com

video conference logo

Venue: Online



This live online Zoom course introduces you to ethnographic methods and observation which are valuable techniques in qualitative research where the focus is on understanding in great depth the meanings, views, behaviours, beliefs and actions of a particular culture, group or organisation. Ethnography typically involves extended periods of time ‘in the field’, while participant observation and observational techniques can also be used to examine groups and cultures in a shorter time period and alongside other methods.

We also look at examples of what Wall (2004) calls ‘focused ethnography’ in order to examine how observational methods can be used in a shorter timescale than a ‘traditional’ ethnography, and in applied settings in order to understand for example organisational cultures and behaviours. We review ethnographers' reflections of conducting fieldwork in a variety of contexts in order to demonstrate the benefits and drawbacks of these approaches.

This training includes practical elements such as workshop discussions, observations, writing field notes and reflecting on these. Therefore participants should have a working microphone and camera in order to be able to take part live via Zoom.


We cover:

- The history of ethnography and participant observation

- The principles and techniques of ethnography

- Practicalities of fieldwork

- An intro to new approaches: virtual ethnography, go-along methods, sensory ethnography

- ‘Focused ethnography’ in applied settings

- Accessing the field, gatekeepers and building rapport

- Recording data

- The importance of an inductive and reflexive approach

- Ethics


Who should attend?

This course will be useful for researchers who are new to qualitative methods or who wish to brush up on their knowledge of ethnography and obervational methods. This includes Masters students, doctoral students and academics. Researchers using qualitative methods in government, policy, consultancy, social research organisations and charities will also find this training useful.


£120 (discounted rate for students, unwaged, part-time); £160 (full rate)

Website and registration:




Data Collection, Observation, Unstructured/ ethnographic observation, Real time and video observation, Participant observation , Non-participant observation

Related publications and presentations:

Data Collection
Unstructured/ ethnographic observation
Real time and video observation
Participant observation
Non-participant observation

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