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Making the familiar strange: an introduction to ethnographic research methods
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Making the familiar strange: an introduction to ethnographic research methods

When: 12:30
Where: Online webinar
United Kingdom
Contact: Juanita Foster-Jones
020 7255 0500

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Webinar Wednesday


Making the familiar strange: an introduction to ethnographic research methods

Ethnography is an observation-based qualitative research approach that traditionally has been employed by anthropologists to understand ‘exotic’ societies in far-flung places. So what can the method offer to contemporary library and information professionals? In this webinar we will explore principles of ethnography, including using observation and reflection to develop in-depth understanding of processes, relationships and organisations. Drawing on examples of ethnography in LIS settings, we will consider how, by making ‘the familiar strange’, we can make sense of the cultures that shape the everyday practices of information users and professionals. We will also identify practical steps for conducting ethnographic research, including addressing common challenges faced in this method.

Through this webinar, participants will gain:

  • Understanding of historical and contemporary principles defining ‘ethnography’ as a research method.
  • Familiarity with real-life examples of ethnographic research across a range of library and information contexts.
  • Confidence to apply basic steps to planning and undertaking ethnography in their setting.


Dr Joanna ReynoldsJoanna Reynolds, PhD, is a social scientist and qualitative researcher, with expertise in applying ethnographic approaches to understand health and social issues.  She is the Director of Capacity Q, which works with public, voluntary and third sector organisations to build capacity to use qualitative research and data.  She is also a Lecturer in Sociology at Sheffield Hallam University, and a co-editor of “Ethnographies and Health”, which explores different uses of ethnography to understand health, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.






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