Digital Ethnography Field School: “Exploring & Documenting Maine’s Cultures of Reuse”

UMaine Digital Ethnography Field School Application


Course Description

ANT 490/ MES 520/ MES 498 – Ethnographic Field School

This course is designed to give students firsthand experience with the process of designing and conducting qualitative ethnographic field research. Based here in Maine to ensure broad and affordable participation, the course will enable students to contribute to a research project, Exploring Maine’s Culture of Reuse.

Through the process, students will gain experience with research design, human subjects review, sampling methodologies, and a wide array of ethnographic research techniques including participant observation, interviews, oral histories and semi-structured questionnaires.

Students will also get an introduction to digital ethnography, qualitative data analysis and data management strategies.


The course will run from May 13 – 31, 2019, and will involve classroom and field components.

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm; 232 South Stevens Hall
  • Tuesday/Thursday: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm; day trips off-campus
  • May 22 – 24: Extended off-campus field research in locations across Maine


inside of a bike repair shop

Program Fee: $413, plus tuition (3 credits)

On-campus housing available, but not included in fee.

This course was designed to provide a low-cost, local ethnographic field research experience. We will visit landfills, materials recovery facilities, and a whole host of “reuse” establishments including flea markets, consignment shops, and repair businesses.

Significant effort has been taken by the department to reduce course fees. The $413 program fee includes:

  • all travel expenses, including vehicle rentals and fuel
  • off-campus accommodation for the extended field research, May 22 – 24
  • a 12-month license for NVivo qualitative analysis software
  • and the costs associated with providing incentives for research participants

Please note that meals and on-campus accommodation are not included in the course fee.

Application Process

Admission to the course is through application only. Interested students should complete the online application.

The deadline to apply is April 1, 2019.

Although previous experience in ethnographic research and a familiarity with Maine’s reuse economy is not necessary, students should have completed coursework in Anthropology or Maine Studies.