Ethnography was initially developed in anthropology in the early twentieth century. It generally involved the researcher living with a group of people for an extended period, perhaps a year or several years, in order to document their distinctive way of life, beliefs and values.
Ethnography has been influenced by a range of methodological and theoretical movements. Within anthropology, it was shaped by German ideas about the distinctive character of history and the human sciences, by Wundt’s folk psychology, and even by positivism.
Subsequently, in the form of the casestudy approach of the Chicago School, it was also influenced by philosophical pragmatism, while recently Marxism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, structuralism, critical theory, feminism, and poststructuralism have all informed its character.