In this course we will describe diverse writing styles and ways for accounting and grounding the ethnographic work, emphasizing their strengths and weaknesses.

  • We will rely on diverse “use cases” drawn from anthropology, pointing also to those HCI studies that attempted to address key methodological issues in “design ethnography”.
  • We will focus on the reflexive approach, suggesting how HCI ethnography can value, rather than hide, the subjectivity of the fieldworker, also highlighting the importance of auto-ethnographic practices.
  • We will explain how reflexivity can be used both in the recounting of the data from the field, and in the accounting of the collected data.
  • We will highlight methodological opportunities through a hands-on session.

Syllabus (Tentative):

  • What is ethnography?
  • Methodological tools for conducting ethnographies
  • A brief historical backdrop
  • Ethnography and writing styles
  • The realist style: How “objectivity” is constructed
  • The reflexive styles: The role of the ethnographer
  • Reflexivity as a tool for reporting uncertainty
  • Reflexivity as a methodological criterion
  • How to conduct a reflexive ethnography
  • How to write a reflexive recount