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Arkistoitu opetusohjelma 2018–2019
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TAYJ025 Ethnographic Research 3–5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period III Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Postgraduate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Yliopiston yhteiset tohtoriopinnot
Doctoral School

General description

Learning outcomes

After the course, the participants:
-    understand the range of different types of ethnographic research
-    have knowledge of the ethnographic research process, including definitions of “the field” and situating oneself on the field,
-    understand the processes of analysing the data and reporting key results.

General description

Ethnographic research is popular in social sciences, social anthropology in particular. In addition, however, it is in wide use across disciplinary borders, for example in education and health sciences as well as when researching institutions and governance. Recently, Internet discussions and online groups have been studied using ethnographic methods.

Ethnographic approach is particularly useful when one wants a rich understanding of cultural processes and individuals’ roles as participants in these processes. The main method in ethnographic research is participant observation but researchers often also conduct interviews and collect material, textual and/or visual data. What sorts of research practice is ethnographic nowadays, as the method continues to evolve? When is it particularly useful? What kinds of research questions does the method provide answers to? What is the range and current variety of ethnography?

Seeking answers to these questions, the course also focuses on the everyday, practical side of conducting ethnographic research; how to solve challenges and how does the research process proceed?

The course consists of two days. Day one, consists of lectures on key themes; the epistemologies of ethnographic research, different types of ethnographic fields and the researcher’s position on the field. Day two includes a lecture on the analysis of ethnographic data and a seminar on students’ papers on their own ongoing/planned ethnographic research projects.

Completion mode

3-5 ECTS credit

-    3 ECTS: attending the lectures, reading the course materials and writing a reflective essay on the course (max. 2000 words).
-    5 ECTS: attending the lectures, reading the course materials, writing a paper on one’s own ethnographic research (max. 3000 words) & presenting it in a seminar group and commenting on other students’ papers.

When signing into the course, those who hope to do 5 ECTS must write a summary of 200-300 words where they explain their own ethnographic research project: research questions, fieldwork and the current phase.

Group size

30 students of which 10 will be able get the 5 ECTS.

Course schedule

Tue 9.4.2019, room C8 Main building
9.15-9.30     Welcome and introduction to the course.
9.30-10.00     Mari Korpela: Ethnography: what, where, when and how?
10.00-10.45     Mari Korpela: The researcher’s many roles on the field
10.45-11.15     Discussion
11.15-11.30 a break
11.30-12.30 Anna Haverinen:  Practicing online ethnography  
12.30-13.30     lunch break
13.30-14.30     Riikka Homanen : Institutional ethnography
14.30-15.30     Mari Korpela: Ethnographic research among children and participatory research
15.30-16.00     Discussion

Wed 24.4.2019, room A32 Main building

9.15-10.30     Mari Korpela: Help! What shall I do now? Organising and analysing ethnographic
10.45-12.30     Workshop on course readings
12.30-13.15     Lunch
13.15-16.00     Students’ papers

In between the course days, students will have time to reflect on the lectures and readings in their own papers, and that they will have time to read each others’ papers.

PLEASE NOTE: Those wishing to get 5 ECTS must use ethnographic approach in their own research project.  It is recommended that they are either currently conducting fieldwork or have already finished with the fieldwork.

Enrolment for University Studies

Enrolment time has expired


Mari Korpela, Teacher responsible


9-Apr-2019 – 24-Apr-2019