IRFL10040 Ethnography of the Everyday

Academic Year 2023/2024

Listening, observing, and sensing the world around us are essential components in the field of folkloristics. Ethnography is the study and description of peoples, societies, and cultures through direct observation and enquiry. At the centre of folklore studies lies ethnographic fieldwork. Traditionally through person-to-person engagement, often in the form of interviews, fieldwork has evolved and expanded to dynamically engage unofficial, vernacular culture in our everyday physical and digital landscapes.

Students will develop and refine personal research strategies by undertaking the study of folklore through active personal engagement. We will explore the objectives of ethnography in both the positivist and interpretivist frameworks and identify research questions and technological methods of documentation in conducting the design and application of field research. In so doing, we will highlight critical theoretical issues in ethnography, the ethics of fieldwork and the researcher’s responsibility towards research subjects, along with the place of the reflexive self in research. Students will engage with practical ethnographic methods and techniques by carrying out participant-observation fieldwork, which will include: preparing for interviewing, fieldwork ethics and relationships, and post fieldwork processes of archiving, analysing and dissemination. Through direct personal engagement with various modes of recording folk knowledge and expression, the keeping of descriptive field diaries, and the writing-up of findings, students practically identify the best approaches in documenting many forms of folklore. Ultimately, students will find and refine their self-reflective voices to communicate the folklore of everyday life as an integral endeavour of the folklorist’s craft.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Folklore Studies engages with vernacular culture and tradition through empirically grounded studies of people’s lives. Students learn how folklorists develop theoretical and methodological tools for conducting such fieldwork. Students will also learn to how apply these through designing their own research project, carrying out ethnographic fieldwork along with analysing and disseminating the collected material.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In this module students are supported to become more independent learners. Students will be encouraged to participate in lectures as appropriate and expected to fully engage in tutorial activities, including getting involved in class discussions and working together in small groups. Lectures will provide broad frameworks while tutorials will focus on the development of close reading skills. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: End of semester examination 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Journal: Fieldwork diary and journal Week 6 n/a Graded No


Assignment: Fieldwork analysis 1200 words. Week 12 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Tracey Hayes Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 4 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 14:00 - 14:50