The Ethnographic Interview
A must-read classic for anyone—academic ethnographers to market researchers—involved with data collection from individual human beings. The Ethnographic Interview is a practical, self-teaching handbook that guides readers step-by-step through interview techniques commonly used to research ethnography and culture. The text also shows how to analyze collected data and how to write an ethnography. Appendices include research questions and writing tasks.

James P. Spradley (1933–1982), a professor of anthropology at Macalester College, wrote or edited twenty books on ethnography and qualitative research in twelve years, including The Cultural Experience: Ethnography in Complex Society (with McCurdy; 2/E with Shandy), The Ethnographic Interview, Participant Observation, The Cocktail Waitress: Woman’s Work in a Man’s World (with Mann), and You Owe Yourself a Drunk: An Ethnography of Urban Nomads, all available from Waveland Press. He was among the first cultural anthropologists to study modern U.S. life and to apply distinctly anthropological concepts and methods to address real-world problems like occupational stress, deafness, and homelessness.
Reviews
“Spradley’s introduction to doing interviews for grounded theory ethnography remains the best of its kind. No one else lays out the steps toward a naturalistic interview protocol so clearly. And there are few other books that walk readers through the analytic process so clearly.” — Krista Harper, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“Outstanding resource. I was very happy to see it back in print.” — Margaret Bull, Marquette University

“Thank you for bringing back a great book at a more affordable price.” — Pamela Blakely, Reading Area Community College

“I discovered this book when confronted with the task of teaching students how to do what I had learned through years of immersive fieldwork. Jim Spradley was a man ahead of his time who cracked this problem of how to efficiently and effectively train people in doing ethnography. It’s not the only book on my shelf, but it is the one I turn to when I am consulting for the CDC or the UN and need to justify to non-anthropologists how and why I do what I do.” — Dianna J. Shandy, Macalester College
Table of Contents
Part One: ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH
1. Ethnography and Culture
2. Language and Field Work
3. Informants

Part Two: THE DEVELOPMENTAL RESEARCH SEQUENCE
Step 1. Locating an Informant
Step 2. Interviewing an Informant
Step 3. Making an Ethnographic Record
Step 4. Asking Descriptive Questions
Step 5. Analyzing Ethnographic Interviews
Step 6. Making a Domain Analysis
Step 7. Asking Structural Questions
Step 8. Making a Taxonomic Analysis
Step 9. Asking Contrast Questions
Step 10. Making a Componential Analysis
Step 11. Discovering Cultural Themes
Step 12. Writing an Ethnography

Appendix A: A Taxonomy of Ethnographic Questions
Appendix B: Developmental Research Sequence Writing Tasks
Appendix C: The Developmental Research Sequence