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Ethnography: Books

This guide collects resources on ethnography, including examples of ethnographic research and resources on how to conduct ethnographic research.

How to Conduct Ethnographic Research: Books

Finding Ethnographies in the Library

Ethnographies can be difficult to identify in the library catalog because there is no specific subject heading for "ethnography". Here are some tips for searching for them in the library catalog:

  • Identify the correct name of the group you are researching.
  • The most often-used subject heading subheading for ethnographies is "Social life and customs".
  • Another sub-heading that is useful is "case studies". Although most case studies are not ethnographies, some are. You will have to go to the stacks and look at the books to determine if they are actually ethnographies.
  • Try a keyword search with ethnograph? in addition to your subject. However, unless the book has "ethnography" as part of the title (and most don't), you won't find much.
  • Do a keyword search combining the name of the group with the aspect of the culture you want to research. Hopefully some ethnographies will turn up. However, the catalog record won't necessarily tell you this and you will have to look at the book to determine if it actually is an ethnography.***

For additional information on searching the library catalog for books and other materials the library owns, see our research guide on searching the library catalog.

***Thanks to Robert J. Woodruff Library, Emory University

Books in the Dean B. Ellis Library

All books in the library are arranged by subject using the Library of Congress classification system for call numbers and subject headings. Below is the general area books on ethnology/ethnography are classified in, but you can find ethnographic literature in many other areas as well.

  • GN301-674 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
  • GN357-367      Culture and cultural processes Including social change, structuralism, diffusion, etc.
  • GN378-396      Collected ethnographies
  • GN397-397.7    Applied anthropology
  • GN406-517       Cultural traits, customs, and institutions
  • GN406-442       Technology. Material culture Including food, shelter, fire, tools, etc.
  • GN448-450.8     Economic organization. Economic anthropology
  • GN451-477.7     Intellectual life Including communication, recreation, philosophy, religion, knowledge, etc

Occasionally a totally different call number will appear. This means the item is about more than ethnography and higher importance was given to the other subject when the call number was assigned.

Examples of Ethnographies: Books