R. F. Ellen(ed.), Ethnographic Research: A Guide to General Conduct, Academic Press 1984 London.


Brief History of Ethnography

Parcitipant observation has been considered the domain of anthropologists (p 14). It's orgins are traced to Malinowski's fieldwork among Trobriand Islanders in 1914 (P15). "He was the first to use participant observation to generate specific anthropological knowledge."

Radcliff-Brown later saw the idea of the function of an instritution "within a social structure". p 17

Durkeim asserted that "social facts are external to individuals and exert pressure on them"

Anthropology was established "as a reconized field of study" in the 1840's in American and Europe. p.37 as ethnology.

The use of the questionnaire was utilized on a French naval expedition to Austrailia in 1800-1803 and later became a common tool of ethnologists in the 1800's. The Royal Anthropological Society's Notes and Quieries on Anthropology was one of the first major questionnaire stiudies, published in six editions from 1874 to 1951. In the US L. H. Morgan's "Circular" was issued through the Smithsonian in 1862. (p. 38).

Henry R. Schoolcraft was one of the first Americans to publish ethnographic style information. The Smithsonian Institution was a big supporter of anthropological research stated in 1846. Later the Bureau of Ethnology in 1879 began to gather information on Indians. Frank Boas, a German researcher did much to further ethnography in the late 1800'.s He and his students dominated the field in the early 1900's in America.

Malinowski did much of the early definition of the science of participant observation in the early 1900's. He was first to "clearly articulate" the methodology of fieldwork. He advocated the use of charts and tables in analysis. He advocated using descriptsions of everyday action to understand societies. Radcliff-Brown furthered the tradition.

Most early US work was with American Indians. Margaret Mead advocated the use of participant observation (p. 57).