Ethnography: an overview

Subst Use Misuse. 1997 Jul;32(9):1155-73. doi: 10.3109/10826089709035470.


This article offers an overview of ethnographic research. First, an example from a "traditional" ethnography is presented to make explicit some key aspects of the research process and the underlying logic of ethnography's "abductive" epistemology. Next, ethnography is contrasted and compared with the "received view" (deductive, quantitative) to show how it differs from the usual tradition of "social research." Finally, the way that ethnography and epidemiology are being combined in United States drug use(r) research is described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology, Cultural* / methods
  • Anthropology, Cultural* / standards
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design* / standards
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology