Skip to main content
UMass Amherst Libraries


Guide for Library Research in Anthropology


What are ethnographies?

Ethnographies are generally accounts of observations or interviews describing specific cultural groups. They're usually published as books. They're not always easy to find in the library because there isn't a specific subject heading to separate them from books that rely on secondary sources.

How do I find ethnographies?

1. Search for Subject Headings

What if I don't know what what subject headings are or need a refresher?

You can search for ethnographies in Discovery Search using a couple of subject subheadings. Enter a term identifying your culture, location, or nationality, and add one of these keywords or phrases:

Social life and customs

For example:

Mixtec (indigenous group) -- Ethnography
Iran -- Social life & customs

For a more in-depth exploration of this strategy, check out "Finding Ethnographies" on the Indiana University Libraries website.


2. eHRAF World Cultures Database

3. The Encyclopedia of World Cultures

These reference books have articles on most world cultures. Each article contains a bibliography of ethnographies and other works on that culture that you can look for in Discovery Search.