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PERCS launches new ethnographic website

Elon’s Program for Ethnographic Research and Community Studies (PERCS) has launched a new website to serve as a resource for those interested in using ethnographic research methodologies. The site can be found at

The PERCS site is a clearinghouse of information for students, teachers and researchers who are currently involved in ethnographic research, or who would like to incorporate the methodology into their research projects or courses. 

For teachers, the site includes teaching modules on techniques such as field observation, interviewing techniques and focus groups, and provides detailed information on the unique ethical considerations of these methodologies. Students will also find these modules useful, as they consider using ethnography in their classes and research projects. In particular, the Web site lists a number of ways for students to get involved in ethnographic research – from a list of related courses to examples of completed student projects. The site includes a growing body of community research projects in both audio and video documentary formats. Visitors to the site can also view PERCS news and events, including speakers, workshops, research in progress and PERCS-sponsored projects.

Coming soon to the site will be a tool allowing researchers to access an annotated bibliography of ethnographic books and articles, as well as links to other sites and resources. As in the past, PERCS has a limited supply of digital voice recorders, digital cameras, and digital video cameras to check out for use in ethnographic projects by Elon students, faculty and staff.

PERCS was initially created by Anne Bolin and Sandy Smith-Nonini in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology to foster ethnographic work within the department. In 2006, the program became interdisciplinary and was formally launched to foster the understanding and use of ethnography across all fields of study. Tom Mould, associate professor of anthropology, is the current director of the program. The PERCS program committee includes faculty members from the fields of education, communication, sociology, anthropology, art, psychology and religious studies. PERCS recently moved to a new space in Lindner Hall.  

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