Risky Research: Investigating the “Perils” of Ethnography

Karen A. Stewart, Aaron Hess, Sarah J. Tracy, H. L. Goodall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Our chapter is a collection of stories about risks we’ve faced as practicing ethnographers. We wanted to tell our risky stories because, conceptually, “risk” has a distinct relationship with qualitative methods, and ethnography in particular. All ethnography is inherently risky, at least to some degree. The contingent nature of fieldwork-our primary method of inquiry-places us in dynamic, unusual, or otherwise unfamiliar social settings where we are expected to interact with new people and new ideas and, ultimately, make sense of our surroundings. This process, at best, is ambiguous and situates ethnography as a less-than-predictable form of investigation. Experience, and a healthy dose of common sense, tells us this is risky work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQualitative Inquiry and Social Justice
Subtitle of host publicationToward a Politics of Hope
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315421520
ISBN (Print)9781315421537
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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