This is the "Home" page of the "Ethnographic Research" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Ethnographic Research   Tags: ethnography, subcultures  

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
Home Print Page

Why the Library?

Why use the library for ethnographic research?

1.   The library contains scholarly and popular sources such as books and journal, magazine, and newspaper articles. These sources provide:

  • facts
  • histories
  • description of culture
  • prior research
  • answers to your research questions

2.   Library sources help you to compare and contrast your topic to other related (or maybe unrelated?) subcultures and help you determine how it is representative of a larger culture.

3.   Doing library research helps you to generate a theory by stimulating your creativity and intelligence.

4.   A literature review may be a required element of your research paper.


Finding Background Info

The library has a large collection of print reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks) that can provide definitions, facts and background information on your subculture. 

You also have access to two great online reference sources: Gale Virtural Reference Library and Credo Reference. These sources are available 24/7 from off campus (need your myHancock username and password).


Ethnographic Research Tips

Tip #1:  Organize and categorize your field notes. Some categories to consider: age, gender, ethnicity, behaviors, relationships, status (health, education, income).

Tip #2: Analyze the data from your field notes. Generate questions raised by this analysis (brainstorm). Use your observations and readings to identify questions related to trends and conflicts.

Tip #3: Use the research process guide to help you get started using library resources.

Tip #4: When searching, combine your topic with the terms ethno*, subculture, or anthropology.

Tip #5: You may need to broaden or NARROW your search if you are not finding any sources or are finding too many.

Tip #6: Search for a blog on your subculture using IceRocket blog search. Blogs are considered primary sources that generally reflect a person's opinion on a topic. You must carefully evaluate a blog before you include it as a source for a research paper.


Finding Periodical Articles

Academic Search Premier  is an online databases that provides access to periodicals. Full-text scholarly journals available through Academic Search Premier and ProQuest include:

  • Asian Ethnology
  • Ethnohistory
  • Ethnology
  • Ethnomusicology

In addition, the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography is indexed in Academic Search Premier and articles can be requested through inter-library loan (don't wait until the last minute to start your research!).

There are a variety of subject specific online databases you can search. Check out the listing on the library web page.

Visit the Periodicals and the Library Libguide for additional assistance.


Finding Books

Find print and ebooks in our library catalog by searching by subject or keyword


Finding Electronic Books

The Allan Hancock College library contains over 50,000 eBooks! 

 Search for eBooks using the library's catalog or directly from the ebrary or Ebscohost eBook webpage.

To use our eBook collection you must be a Hancock student, staff or faculty member.  Access eBooks from computers in the libraries or using your myHancock username and password from off campus. 


From the Hancock Archives

Seri Woman from Tiburon Island. 

Meredith, DeWitt. Voyages of the Velero III: A Pictorial Version with Historical Background of Scientific Expeditions through Tropical Seas to Equatorial Lands Aboard M/V Velero III. Los Angeles: Brookhaven Press. 1939. p.156.


Library Hours


Santa Maria Campus

Bldg L-South

Mon-Thurs: 8 AM - 9 PM

Friday:  8 AM - 3 PM

Closed Saturday and Sunday

Lompoc Valley Center

Bldg 1

Mon and Thurs: 8 AM - 8 PM 

Closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday


Books on Ethnography

Cover Art
Exploring Everyday Life - Billy Ehn; Orvar Löfgren; Richard Wilk
Call Number: GN345 E43 2016
ISBN: 9780759124066
Publication Date: 2015
Santa Maria Stacks

Cover Art
Ethnographic Methods - Karen O'Reilly
Call Number: Electronic Book
ISBN: 0203320069
Publication Date: 2004

Cover Art
Participant Observation - Kathleen M. DeWalt; Billie R. DeWalt
Call Number: GN346.4 D48 2011
ISBN: 9780759119260
Publication Date: 2010
Santa Maria Stacks


Loading  Loading...