Instructions: Ethnography Paper  ASSIGNMENT

In an original paper of at least 1,500 words , write an ethnography of a subculture, group, or community related to your theme.  A group constitutes more than two individuals.  This is largely an informative paper; the goal of the ethnography is to present observations, information, and research on the subculture as a means for educating your audience about the subculture. 

 Ultimately, an ethnography should answer this question:  What does studying this group of individuals reveal about group dynamics, culture, and/or human behavior? Like a documentary film, an ethnography tells the story of a group of people.  You may choose an online subculture or an on-campus/community subculture, but the subculture must be a group of individuals whom you can observe and study this semester.  Ethnography is concerned with humans and human behavior.   An ethnography is similar to telling a story; like a documentary film, and ethnography will attempt to provide a “behind the scenes” look at a group of individuals.  Like a story, an ethnography often has a setting (like a workplace, for example) and characters (the real people comprising the group).  Consider the sample Ethnography papers posted in Canvas as examples of this type of writing.


1.  Analyze an assignment prompt and develop a strategy for responding to the prompt;  

2.  Craft an effective thesis statement that provides focus for an academic paper; 

 3.  Use writing to show evidence of critical thinking; 

 4.  Use ethical field research and firsthand observation methods to gather information;  

5.  Express intellectually stimulating ideas using clear, grammatically correct prose; 6.  Practice using first-person point-of-view in an objective, unbiased manner.

Your paper should include:  

1.   An introductory paragraph and thesis statement.  The introduction should identify the subculture you are investigating.  The thesis statement should focus the paper and indicate, in a single sentence, the most significant characteristics of the subculture.

 2.   Body paragraphs with topic sentences.  The body of the paper should address specific characteristics of the subculture.  You may address how the members of the subculture interact with each other, the types of discourse and language used by members of the group, the beliefs and values shared by the group, specific cultural characteristics of the group (including dress, domestic customs, daily activities, involvement with the broader community, festivals and celebrations, etc.), and the organizational structure of the group/community.  

 3.   Information based on observation and/or interviews with a member or members of the subculture. 

4.   In-text citations as needed and a correctly formatted APA References page.   

5.   A conclusion that discusses the implications of your findings and/or discusses how the study of this group relates to broader social/cultural issues. 

  6.   A correctly formatted APA title page, including a paper title.  An abstract is not required.


Your final draft must cite and make reference to at least 5 credible sources. 

 At least one source must be an interview.  You may either conduct an interview yourself or use a published interview, conducted by someone else, to meet this requirement.  Your goal should be to conduct or locate an interview with a member of the group you are studying.   You are welcome to include additional sources and references as needed.  Consider field research methods described in Chapter 11 of the Palmquist textbook.