MethodsNet + RSS
MethodsNet + RSS

Ethnographic Research: Issues and Interpretations (RSS2.18) - Confirmed

The challenges of fieldwork not only relate to data generation, but also navigating the politics of “the field” and moving between the field, the desk and the page. This course provides an opportunity to explore how you can “make sense” of fieldwork and the data it generates. Via initial engagement with Among Wolves (Pachirat 2018), you will discuss issues of politics and praxis including knowledge claims, researcher positionalities and relationalities, reflexivity, dynamics of power, ethical practices, and how to read and write interpretivist field-based research.

Duration: one-week.



    The application deadline has passed, applying is no longer possible

    Providing an opportunity for you to deepen your conceptual and practical understanding of fieldwork, the course seeks to “make sense” of fieldwork both in general and in relation to participants’ specific projects through interactive lectures, workshops and related activities. 

    • The course Day 1 begins with an overview of the course design, expectations and participant introductions, followed by consideration of the logics and processes of interpretive ethnographic fieldwork in both principle and practice. 
    • On Day 2, you turn our attention to issues of power and positionality, asking how the researcher affects their research and how identities and relationalities can be managed both in the field and when presenting research. 
    • This discussion leads into consideration of the ethics of fieldwork on Day 3 and you consider the logics and aims of formal ethical requirements as well as exploring ethics as praxis in relation to participants and also researchers. 
    • Day 4 sees us shift focus to address the question of whether ethnographic research can be considered trustworthy, interrogating how ethnographic methods deal with matters of evidence, proof and truth and its underlying knowledge claims. 
    • Finally, on Day 5, we address issues in reading and writing ethnographic research, including moving from the field to the page and creating reader-centred accounts of one’s research.

    Watch what our participants say about their experience!

    MethodsNet + RSS

    (Social) Research Methods courses

    Course list
    Course list

    Overview courses and disciplines

    Course list

    Cannot join us this year? 

    We can keep you informed about the 2025 course program! Do you want to broaden your knowledge in 2025 over courses about sustainability, law, research methods & skills, data science and more. Get an email when the new proposal is ready. Because you have part to play!

    Keep me informed

    Starting date

    24 June 2024, 9 am
    Educational method
    Main Language
    24 June 2024, 9 am - 28 June 2024, 5 pm
    Cai Wilkinson
    Unique code


    Type of education
    Entry requirements
    See the requirements in cost and admission
    Study load (ECTS)
    Radboud Summer School

    Total package & social events

    Cai Wilkinson

    Cai Wilkinson

    Cai Wilkinson (she/they) is an Associate Professor in International Relations at Deakin University, Australia, where she teaches into a range of undergraduate and postgraduate taught programs as well as supervising Honours, Masters and PhD research projects. Her research focuses on community and individual experiences of insecurity in countries of the former Soviet Union, with a particular focus on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. She has undertaken ethnographic fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan several times, including researching the development of LGBT activism in the republic, and her work has been published in a range of journals and edited volumes. Cai was the recipient of the International Studies Association LGBTQA Caucus Eminent Scholar Award in 2019, the Cora Maas Award for best evaluated courses at an ECPR Methods School in 2020, and the 2021 Distinguished Teaching Award from the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Cai holds a PhD in Eurasian Studies, a Masters in Russian and East European Studies, a BA (Hons) in Russian, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, all from the University of Birmingham in the UK. She is an academic coordinator of the Methods Excellence Network (MethodsNET).

    The application deadline has passed, applying is no longer possible



    • Regular: €1049 (application deadline 13th of May)
    • Student & PhD's: €699 (application deadline 13th of May)

    Includes: your course, short morning and late afternoon courses, coffee and tea during breaks, a warm lunch every day, Official Opening, MethodsNET Café (including some drinks and snacks) Official Closing (with some drinks and snacks) and a 1-year (2024 calendar year) free membership as MethodsNET regular member.

    Excludes: transport, accommodation, social events and other costs. 

    Discounts and Scholarships


    Level of participant: 

    • Master
    • PhD
    • Postdoc
    • Professional

    Admission requirements: 

    This PhD-level course is open to all researchers and practitioners wishing to extend their research praxis and gain a deeper understanding of fieldwork. It is particularly suitable for those intending to undertake fieldwork using ethnographic/qualitative-interpretivist methods of data generation (participant-observation, interviews) and those who have experience of fieldwork and are seeking an opportunity to reflect and systematise their understanding of the issues involved. No prior experience of fieldwork is required, but participants will benefit from having had some prior engagement with the methodological underpinnings of interpretive and qualitative research, ideally including some readings on the philosophy of social science (see recommended readings below). It is expected that participants will be open to engaging with materials drawn from a wide range of social science disciplines including anthropology, political science, sociology and organisational studies.

    Admission documents: