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English - Composition: Ethnographic Essay

A guide to resources for English composition classes.

What is an Ethnographic Essay?

Some English instructors will assign an Ethnographic Essay for your English class. What is an Ethnographic Essay?

  • It's an essay that focuses on a group, culture or subculture
  • It emphasizes close observation, interview, and field notes
  • Additional research may be found through library resources
  • Other guidelines will be explained to you by your instructor

Reference Books on Cultures & Subcultures

Ethnographic Essay Databases

Be sure to take a look at the [Subject Guide] that deals with your topic more specifically.  For instance, if you're interested in writing about doctors, nurses, or other health professions, consider a Database from the [Health], [Nursing], or other health-related Subject Guides.

  • Credo Reference: An online collection of over 800 "real" encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference books.

  • General OneFile: Many full-text articles on topics of general interest.

  • Grand Rapids Press: Full-text articles from 2000 to present. Good source if you are examining a local site, culture, or subculture.

  • Points of View: Articles, essays and reference material on current topics.

Ethnographic Essay Topics/Sample Papers

For more ideas on ethnographic essay topics, review your textbook or visit the links below.