How to Write an Ethnographic Case Study

Ethnographic study methods require the researcher to observe his subjects in their natural settings.

The case study is one of the social scientist’s most powerful research tools. The author of a case study seeks to understand the context of the problem he is researching by using information from the case study subjects. An ethnographic case study employs the methods of anthropology and sociology research to obtain the necessary data for his project. The ethnographic approach requires the researcher to observe the subject in real-world environments.

Gather your field notes and interview records from your case study. Make electronic copies and transcriptions of all original materials. Mark up copies of your records to arrange your research thematically.

Introduce the setting for your case study. Describe the problem or issue that you investigated in your case study. Tell the reader about the setting in which you conducted the study and the participants. State the thesis that you developed based on your research.

Present your findings. Support your thesis by stringing together evidence from your case study. Show how the setting and cultural context of your participants contribute to your conclusion. Lay out your research data thematically to bolster your thesis.

Conclude by restating your thesis statement. Recap the study and how it contributes to your conclusion. Summarize the implications of your findings.

Sean Butner has been writing news articles, blog entries and feature pieces since 2005. His articles have appeared on the cover of "The Richland Sandstorm" and "The Palimpsest Files." He is completing graduate coursework in accounting through Texas A&M University-Commerce. He currently advises families on their insurance and financial planning needs.