Ethnographic fieldwork methodology: approaches, tools and ethics

Please note: This page refers to a course that has already taken place.

12 - 14 Sep 2022

PRIO, Hausmanns gate 3, Oslo

Jørgen Jensehaugen (

5 ECTS (with approved essay)

Jørgen Carling (

Jørgen Carling is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and co-director of the PRIO Migration Centre. His research covers global migration, immobility and transnationalism, seeking to explain how migration arises, and how it affects societies, families and individuals. He holds a PhD in Human Geography and combines ethnographic and statistical methods, often in mixed-methods research designs. He currently leads MIGNEX, a large 10-country project on migration and development, as well as the ERC-funded project Future Migration as Present Fact (FUMI).

Cindy Horst is Research Professor in Migration and Refugee Studies at PRIO and co-director of the Centre on Culture and Violent Conflict (CCC). Her current research focuses on how individuals, including artists and academics, can challenge the status quo and effect societal change in (post-) conflict settings. Cindy is especially interested in methodological innovations that allow for critical and ethically conscious research engagement, through co-creative approaches, life history research and multi-sited ethnography. She has published extensively for academic and non-academic audiences and has taught and mentored on research methods and ethics at a range of European and African universities and research institutes.

​This course prepares participants for conducting ethnographic fieldwork and using fieldwork data in social-science research. It pays particular attention to doing fieldwork in challenging circumstances, such as those that are often encountered in research on peace and conflict, or in the contexts of migration and displacement. The sessions roughly follow the chronology from pre-fieldwork planning to post-fieldwork representation of data, and address both practical and principled concerns at each stage. Rather than attempting to provide blueprint answers, the course seeks to help participants reflect upon the dilemmas of fieldwork and make informed decisions for their own research.

Teaching will take place in person at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in Norway. The course is preceded by a course on survey methods in migration research (7–9 September) to enable a foundation for mixed methods. Interested participants must apply separately to each course. 

Application deadline: 10 June 2022.

Download full outline of the course: PhD course Ethnographic fieldwork 2022.pdf


​Download full outline of the course: PhD course Ethnographic fieldwork 2022.pdf


​Application deadline: 10 June 2022.


​In order to obtain credits for the course, participants must submit a paper of 3000–5000 words. (Deadline to be confirmed.) The paper should address all the following topics:

  • The relationship between the research question(s) and fieldwork-based knowledge
  • The specific fieldwork methodology employed
  • Methodological and ethical challenges and ways of addressing these challenges

Depending on the nature and current stage of the participant's own research, the paper can be an account of fieldwork methodology already employed in their own research, a plan for fieldwork methodology to be employed in their own research, or a plan for fieldwork methodology to be employed in a proposed future project.


​Applications must be submitted via the online form. 

The field "How does the content of this course relate to the work you have done or will do as part of your doctoral research?" must contain answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the topic of your PhD research?
  2. Have you done ethnographic fieldwork for you PhD, or are you planning to?
  3. Do you have any experience with software for qualitative analysis, e.g. NVivo or Atlas.ti?
  4. Have you taken any university-level course in qualitative methods?

The course is free of charge, but students will have to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

The course is open to applications from any researcher wishing to advance their ethnographic research skills, but PhD students will normally be prioritized. There has been great interest in this course in the past and the number of places is limited.

Course Literature:

​A reading list will be distributed to participants after admission to the course. Readings may include books that participants are required to borrow or purchase.