Research Proposal on Ethnography

Published: 2021-07-14
843 words
4 pages
8 min to read
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Research proposal
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Ethnography is a social science that focuses on large groups of people who interact with each other over a long time. It can be defined as the scientific study of people's customs and cultures. In ethnography, researchers embed themselves within the social settings of the people under study to develop a clear understanding of the complexities and dynamics of the subjects social lives, social relations and how the society operates. The main aim of ethnography is to comprehend a society's social phenomenon from inside through observation and participation in the society's social activities. The researcher interviews the subjects in their natural settings and collects data such as photographs and statistical data that enable him to understand the social setting of the subjects. Through this data, the knowledge that shed light on the social aspects of the society is developed. This paper formulates a research proposal for an ethnographic research at a summer camp.

Ethnographic Research Proposal


A tape Recorder

A digital Camera

A notebook and a pen



My ethnographic research involves a study of a Christian summer camp in Montana. I will study the social aspects of participants in the camp. The aim of my research is to understand the social lives and social activities undertaken by participants of the summer camp. I choose a summer camp because it had participants from different cultural backgrounds. It offered a good platform to compare different cultures and how people of different cultures interact. The participants have religion as a common social aspect that unites them.

Research Questions

How are the participants socially organized?

What social events take place in the camp?

What is the political affiliation of the participants?

What is the ethnic or racial background of the participants?

How do people of different ethnicities interact in the camp?

How do people of different ethnicities express their ethnicity in the camp?

Is culture change affecting the participants of the camp?

I plan to move into the camp and act as a volunteer. This will enable me to have unlimited interaction with the participants as well as the officials.

To conduct an ethnographic study, one needs to obtain background information on the people under study. Before the research, I will use the internet and books available at the library to get the background information on the subjects and the area. This will enable me to adequately prepare for the research by choosing the appropriate clothes and place to stay during the research.

It is important to prepare adequately before conducting an ethnographic research. Poor preparation can be a hindrance to a successful research. Good preparation involves having the required materials, getting any required permission, and getting the required money to finance the research. Before conducting the research, I will ensure that I have raised enough for traveling and accommodation. I will ensure that I have sufficient materials such as cameras, questionnaires, and notebooks for recording the data. I will have to inform the chief of the camp of the research and request permission to conduct the research in the camp. I have already got his telephone number from Facebook.

The research will involve observation, use of questionnaires and interviews. I will observe how people interact with each other on the streets and in the workplace. My observations will be recorded in a notebook. A camera will also be used to take pictures and videos of people engaging in day-to-day activities. I will use questionnaires to answer questions about personal details such as marital status, family size, political affiliation, and ethnicity. I will have questionnaires filled by all willing camp participants. An official in the camp will introduce me to the participants as a researcher to avoid hostility. The official will also assist me to convince the participants to take part in the research. To study the aspect of cultural changes I will interview the park officials who have participated in the camp for more than ten years. I will also interview my fellow volunteers and randomly chosen participants. The interview shall be informal without any structure questions. This will be done to ensure that the interviewees feel at ease so that they can share honest information. I will record the interviews using a tape recorder for review.

While conducting the research, I will ensure that the participation of the respondents is voluntary. I will ensure that confidentiality will be maintained if necessary. The results of the study will be published only if they are not harmful to the respondents. As a researcher, I will avoid questions and activities that may cause distress to the subjects.

In conclusion, it is important to note that an ethnological study will lead to the collection of a lot of data. Therefore, as a researcher, I will ensure that I clearly understand the materials before carrying out the final analysis of data. A thorough understanding of the relevant information will enable me to properly interpret it. I will sort the data properly using patterns and isolated data which do not 'fit'. Proper assessment of the data will ensure that I attain credible findings for the research.

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