Reflections on teaching ethnographic fieldwork: Building community participatory practices

Deborah Gioia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article presents how the classical roots of ethnographic fieldwork can be considered and adapted when teaching ethnography in social work and public health courses. The experiential community engagement component of the course is discussed in-depth (with ten classroom examples), as well as how to enhance fieldwork skills through classroom activities, which Master's of Social Work (MSW) and Bachelor's of Social Work (BSW) students will need in preparation for entering the field. Students who have undergraduate experiences in ethnography with faculty mentors are often taught 'how' to use the elements of fieldwork but not the 'why' of the methods. Two books reviewed in this issue of the journal are viewed as exemplars for student learning and can be used in the classroom. Researcher reflection is highlighted as a necessary skill, and the need to consider the community as partners is essential for the design, rigor and understanding of classroom projects in ethnography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-153
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnography
  • teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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