Ethnography? Explain its significance in sociological research

 Ethnography? Explain its significance in sociological research


Ethnography, descriptive study of a particular human society or the process of making such a study. Contemporary ethnography is based almost entirely on fieldwork and requires the complete immersion of the anthropologist in the culture and everyday life of the people who are the subject of his study. 

There has been some confusion regarding the terms ethnography and ethnology. The latter, a term more widely used in Europe, encompasses the analytical and comparative study of cultures in general, which in American usage is the academic field known as cultural anthropology (in British usage, social anthropology). Increasingly, however, the distinction between the two is coming to be seen as existing more in theory than in fact. Ethnography, by virtue of its intersubjective nature, is necessarily comparative. Given that the anthropologist in the field necessarily retains certain cultural biases, his observations and descriptions must, to a certain degree, be comparative. Thus the formulating of generalizations about culture and the drawing of comparisons inevitably become components of ethnography.

The description of other ways of life is an activity with roots in ancient times. Herodotus, the Greek traveler and historian of the 5th century BC, wrote of some 50 different peoples he encountered or heard of, remarking on their laws, social customs, religion, and appearance. Beginning with the age of exploration and continuing into the early 20th century, detailed accounts of non-European peoples were rendered by European traders, missionaries, and, later, colonial administrators. The reliability of such accounts varies considerably, as the Europeans often misunderstood what they saw or had a vested interest in portraying their subjects less than objectively.

Significance in sociological research

Social science deals with the study of society and the relationship among individuals within society. It includes business, sociology, commerce, demography, etc. Social science research provides authentic information to the people that are scientifically proven so that end users can rely upon it. It also helps us in finding the solutions to different social problems. It focuses on the fact that if we are able to find the root cause of any problem, we can find the more effective solution to it.

Social science is involved everywhere starting from healthcare sector to business world. It also contributes to social welfare, formulation of theories, development of methodology, social planning, prediction, and control.

Social scientists are involved with solving many of the world’s biggest issues like cybersecurity, finding a cause of various new diseases and evolving new strategies for defense challenges faced by the countries. Various countries also take help from social researchers in order to deal with the day to day challenges faced by them. If we consider the field of medicine, social scientists work closely with different organizations. For finding the cause of any new disease, studying the environmental conditions is equally important as studying the cause and pathogen responsible for the disease.

Social science is also in great demand in the business world, specifically in the aviation industry. They help the companies to understand its customers well by providing them information about the travel patterns, use of services, etc. Social science research can help the industries in gaining customer satisfaction by giving them useful insights into customer behaviors. This can lead to business growth and higher profitability of the firms.

Businesses are always interested in knowing more about their customers. Knowing the customers well ease their several purposes. If they know the behaviors of the customers, they can design the products accordingly. It decreases their marketing efforts and even if it is required, it can be strategically planned in the required manner. It not only decreases the overall cost but also provides a better profitability. The brand name of the company gets higher visualization in the market. Technology can serve the purpose of increasing profits but social science research can add a flavor of value to it. 

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