‘On a Hot Day in the Field . . . ’: − The Art of Writing Ethnographic Vignettes


  • Svenja Schöneich


Vignettes, fieldnotes, narrative scenes, ethnographic writing, social situations


Long-term and in-depth ethnographic fieldwork is at the very heart of almost every anthropological study. Whilst in the field, the researcher engages deeply over a long period of time with informants and their lifeworlds. These intense encounters form the basis for the analytical results of the study and as such must be processed and made accessible for the prospective reader. Many ethnographers do so by using ethnographic vignettes. Vignettes are narrative descriptions of particular scenes, placed within the main text. The name might suggest that they are mere adornments, but they should rather be understood as tools by which to grasp analytical conclusions. Through them, the reader shares the experiences of the researcher and can even indirectly witness important moments of insight. But how does one write a good vignette? What should it entail? This paper addresses these questions by reviewing the literature on vignettes and drawing on the author’s own experiences.





Schöneich, S. (2021). ‘On a Hot Day in the Field . . . ’: − The Art of Writing Ethnographic Vignettes. Ethnoscripts, 23(1). Abgerufen von https://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/ethnoscripts/article/view/1666