African American Heritage & Ethnography Ethnographic Research Center: Who uses Ethnographic Research?

Who uses Ethnographic Research?

After an ethnographic research study has been completed other institutions, including federal agencies besides the National Park Service, use ethnographic research in their quest to understand humanity. The Census Bureau conducts ethnographic research to complement their survey research. The departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services rely upon ethnographic research in their implementation of social policy programs such as new public housing construction and welfare reform. Schools use ethnographic research to determine whether new policies are effective, or how to make them more effective. Marketing companies are increasingly using ethnographic research to target specific audiences such as youth, people 65 and older, and working moms.

The point is, ethnographic research is a valuable tool and when used properly can elicit an enormous amount of information that can facilitate program management, communication with consumers, effective policy implementation and interpretation. Ethnographies are instrumental in aiding with policy, coordinating with NPS offices, consulting with shareholders, and managing cultural registries. It is especially useful in telling the story of a people so that, in the case of the National Park Service, that story includes the people that the park represents.