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The Ethnography Circle

November 2019—April 2020

Where is the Theory in my Data? The role of theory in Ethnographic Research

The Circle is a series of informal, multidisciplinary discussions which alternate presentations by leading ethnographers with group sessions where participants reflect on their ethnographic research practices. In short: an ethnographic self-help group. Participation is open to Warwick students/faculty from all departments and is extended to students from other DTCs. This is the sixth edition of the event which is organized by the IKON research group, PPI group at Warwick Business School and organized with the support of the ESRC DTC Warwick.

In this year’s edition, we address the process of theorising in ethnography and how theory fits into ethnographic research. This is often a chicken and egg question that plagues much of qualitative research including ethnography - what comes first theory or data? And how to move from one to the other? We know that good ethnography is usually theory-driven (Wilson & Chaddha, 2009). However, the relationship between the two is complicated and worth to be examined in details.

Drawing on the experience of the participants and the expert speakers, during our friendly and welcoming meetings we will explore questions such as: How do different fields of social research use theory in ethnographic research? What counts as theory in ethnographic work? What is the difference between inductive, deductive and abductive theorising? How do we balance description and analysis? How can we do theory when we are not using texts? These are some of the questions that drive this year’s Circle, where we are concerned with how theory fits into ethnographic research.

Meetings of the 2019-20 series:

19th November: Seminar with Alice Mah (Warwick University)

10th December: Seminar with Catherine Pope (Oxford University)

14th January: "Good" Theorising in Ethnographic Work

27th February: Workshop on Crafting Papers for Publication with Gerardo Patriotta (Warwick University)

30th April: Help! My field-site has evaporated, what do I do now (online event)


All events are held at the Wolfson Research Exchange, the timing of the event is between 3-4:30 pm except the 10th December which will take place from 3:30-5 pm. Coffee provided. BYOC (bring your own cakes).

Location details can be found here.

Who can participate?

Admission is free but space is limited.

For organizational reasons please reserve your place in advance by RVSP:

Previous edition:
November 2018— May 2019
"I've Collected My Data...Now What?"


Organised by Ila Bharatan and Davide Nicolini with the support of:

UoW ESRC Doctoral Training Centre



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A copy of the flyer for the series can be found here