Focused Ethnography for Research on Community Development Non-Profit Organisations




focused ethnography, short-term ethnography, rapid ethnography, quick ethnography, community development, non-profit, non-government organisation, methodology, ethnography


Focused ethnography is a pragmatic form of ethnography, which is focused on a specific phenomenon and conducts short, intensive fieldwork. In this article, I contribute to the development of focused ethnography as an innovative, efficient, and effective qualitative methodology. In addition to augmenting general definitions and understandings of focused ethnography, I evaluate the appropriateness of this methodology for research on community development non-profit organisations. As such, I unpack the advantages and disadvantages of focused ethnography regarding its convergence with or divergence from community development practice principles including bottom-up programming, active participation, locally led action, inclusion of marginalised groups and local wisdom, devolved decision-making, and social justice agenda. Additionally, I outline which types of research projects situated in community development settings may be suited or unsuitable to a focused ethnographic approach, and provide strategies for enhancing the methodology's alignment with organisational principles.


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Author Biography

Leanne M. Kelly, Deakin University

Leanne M. KELLY is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Alfred Deakin Institute at Deakin University. She has spent the past two decades working across a broad array of non-profit organisations and has a diverse interest in subjects from peacebuilding, violent extremism, and family violence, to disasters, child protection, and housing. She has published over 25 scholarly papers and two books on evaluation within non-profit organisations.




How to Cite

Kelly, L. M. (2022). Focused Ethnography for Research on Community Development Non-Profit Organisations. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 23(2).



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