Other books, articles, resources that I highly recommend:

My Fieldwork Equipment Recommendations

Ethnography Matters – a group blog I contribute to. Posts on contemporary topics related to ethnographic research and how it is applied in design, consulting, and the high-tech industry generally.

Internet Research Ethics – ethical issues related to the conduct of research in online environments.

Social Research Update – from the University of Surrey. A quarterly newsletter on various relevant topics for qualitative research.

Epistemology of Qualitative Research:

  • Bardhan, P. and I. Ray (2006). “Methodological Approaches to the Question of the Commons.” Economic Development and Social Change 54: 655-676. – bridging between economics and anthropology
  • Burrell, J. and K. Toyama (2009). “What Constitutes Good ICTD Research?” Information Technology and International Development 5(3): 82-94. – different disciplinary and methodological approaches to the study of the link between technology and socio-economic development.
  • Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan. (2010) The Weirdest People in the World? Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  33: 61-135 [doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999152X] abstract excerpt: Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world’s top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified?
  • Small, Mario Luis (2009). ‘How Many Cases Do I Need?’ On Science and the Logic of Case Selection in Field-Based Research. Ethnography 10(1): 5-38. [doi: 10.1177/1466138108099586] abstract excerpt: Today, ethnographers and qualitative researchers in fields such as urban poverty, immigration, and social inequality face an environment in which their work will be read, cited, and assessed by demographers, quantitative sociologists, and even economists….. Many have responded by incorporating elements of quantitative methods into their designs, such as selecting respondents ‘at random’ for small, in-depth interview projects or identifying ‘representative’ neighborhoods for ethnographic case studies, aiming to increase generalizability. This article assesses these strategies and argues that they fall short of their objectives
  • Small, Mario Luis. Lost in Translation: How Not to Make Qualitative Research More Scientific. In Michèle Lamont and Patricia White (editors), Report from Workshop on Interdisciplinary Standards for Systematic Qualitative Research. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation. [available here]
  • Becker, Howard. How to Find Out How to do Qualitative Research.  Response to the NSF workshop. [available here]
  • Daston, Lorraine and Peter Galison. (1992) The Image of Objectivity – the idea of objectivity from a history of science perspective
  • Fine, Gary Alan. (1993) Ten Lies of Ethnography: Moral Dilemmas of Field Research. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 22(3): 267-294. [DOI: 10.1177/089124193022003001]


  • 2009. Susan Cotts Watkins and Ann Swidler, “Hearsay Ethnography: Conversational Journals as a Method For Studying Culture in ActionPoetics 37(2):162-184. Discusses some of the limitations of how we come to understand ‘culture’ through interviews.  Conversational journals as an alternative approach to access supra-individual semiotic structures.  A demonstration of the approach considers how rural Malawians collectively and publicly address the AIDS epidemic.
  • Briggs, Charles L. (2007) Anthropology, Interviewing, and Communicability in Contemporary Society. Current Anthropology. 48(4): 551-580.  abstract excerpt: Interviewing is informed by ideological constructions of discourse production, circulation, and reception, communicable cartographies that are widely shared by anthropologists and nonanthropologists. The capacity of interview-based texts to project maps of their purported sources, processes of encoding, modes of circulation, recipients, and legitimate modes of reception naturalizes interviewing, simultaneously imbuing interviews with power and shielding them
    from critical scrutiny.
  • Kvale, S. (1996) InterViews: an introduction to qualitative research interviewing. London, Sage.
  • Weiss, R. S. (1994). Learning from Strangers: the art and method of qualitative interview studies. New York, Free Press.
  • Winchatz, M. (2006). “Fieldworker or Foreigner? Ethnographic Interviewing in Nonnative Languages.” Field Methods 18(1): 83-97.
  • Igo, Sarah. (2006). “A Gold Mine and a Tool for Democracy”: George Gallup, Elmo Roper, and the Business of Scientific Polling, 1935-1955 – on the history of the rise of survey research and specifically public opinion polls (related to our reading by Suchman and Jordan).


  • Observing the User Experience – by the ISchool’s own Elizabeth Goodman. From her description: “Observing the UX is a giant, comprehensive guide to just about every qualitative method or topic we thought was currently important in the field. It includes chapters on: basic techniques for recruiting and interviewing, field visits, diary studies and probes, collaging and map-making. As well as introductions to qualitative data analysis for design research, issues in international and cross-cultural research, and the integration of qualitative methods with AB testing.”
  • Ethnographic Praxis in Industry (EPIC) conference
  • Salvador, T., Bell, G., & Anderson, K. (1999). Design Ethnography. Design Management Journal, 10(4), 35-41.
  • Vineyard Computing, Burrell et al. IEEE Pervasive Computing (example from class)
  • Millen, D. R. (2000). Rapid Ethnography: Time Deepening Strategies for HCI Field Research.
  • Beyer and Holtzblatt, Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems
  • Pruitt, J., & Grudin, J. (2003). Personas: Practice and Theory.


  • Strauss, A. (2003 [1987]) Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. – a full elaboration of analysis techniques by one of the originators of grounded theory.
  • Glaser, B. (2002). Conceptualization: On Theory and Theorizing Using Grounded Theory. – what is a grounded theory anyways?
  • Ochs, Elinor (1979). Transcription as Theory. In Developmental Pragmatics. E. Ochs and B. B. Schieffelin, eds. Pp. 43-72. New York: Academic Press – Some thoughts on writing transcripts from interviews.
  • Goodwin, C. (1994). Professional Vision. in American Anthropologist – On Challenges of using a priori coding schemes.