Skip to Main Content

Westcourt iCentre: Study of Religion - Ethnographic Multimodal

Middle & Senior School Library Home

Background Reading

Cambridge Studies of Religion - Hajj 

Five pillars of Islam

Pillar of Islam - Hajj

Rituals of the Hajj

Research Skills

Image result for gale student resources in context

Student Resources in Context

You can access a variety of other useful databases from the State Library of Queensland. [You need to join for free to gain access]


Cite this for me - easy to use online citation tool

You can also add this app to your Chrome toolbar for quick reference!

Bibme - an online citation tool

Don't forget to choose the APA style!


ATC students use the APA citation style (6th edition) to reference their sources.

APA Quick Reference Guide

Image Attribution

CiteWrite - use this tool from QUT to create your citations

You can create some professional looking presentation by using some of these tools...

Animoto - make professional looking videos Videoscribe - video tool
Stupefix - video tool Creaza - audio, video and image creation tools
Powtoon - animated presentation Voicethread - add your voice to any image
ThingLink - Make your image come alive by adding text, video, images, music
Sutori - create and share visual stories

The Inquiry Process applied to Ethnographic Investigation


  • Become aware of issues relating to the investigation
  • Outline and define the issue
  • Explore knowledge, viewpoints and questions
  • Identify a range of sources
  • Develop research questions


Before the interview/observation phase of the study, students should have significant background information about the subject that will inform the questions used. 

Background information/Research phase

  • Review literature relating to the investigation
  • Identify appropriate resources
  • Identify, focus and record key points of investigation
  • Gather, collect, organise, sort and present data
  • Develop a hypothesis to be tested through the investigation

Interview/Observation phase

  • Design questions for interview/s and observations
  • Interview and observe
  • Gather, collect, organise, sort and record data


  • Analyse data (summarise, establish links, compare and contrast)
  • Speculate about sources by considering corroboration of evidence, authority and possible bias
  • Propose/deduce interrelationships from the data
  • Suggest a range of possible explanations and interpretations
  • Review the hypothesis


  • Draw conclusions about the hypothesis based on evidence
  • Justify conclusions about the hypothesis using evidence
  • Present decisions and conclusions
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the investigation


  • What have I learnt from this ethnographic investigation?
  • What connections can I see between this study and other studies I have already undertaken?
  • How could this investigation have been improved?

Study of Religion Senior Syllabus, 2008, p.44 – 45

How to conduct interviews

Interviews are a method of primary data collection involving personal contact where the interviewer asks the interviewee questions about a topic in person, by phone or via the Internet using technologies such as chat rooms, webcam and Voice Over the Internet Protocol (VOIP). The responses provide detailed qualitative information which the researcher can analyse to provide quantitative data.

Starting points

Researching the topic is essential for providing the background to enable you to develop your questions for the interview. You want to appear knowledgeable on the subject so it is important to have a grasp of dates, facts and issues that are central to the subject. Designing and asking relevant questions in a clear way is the other starting point. Work on the design and use of open-ended and closed questions and consider the levels of questions.

Explaining the research

It is important to write an introduction to your research participants. They are an important part of the research process and they need to understand the purpose of the research and the nature of their involvement. This is a part of the ethical guidelines for research.

Introduce yourself providing details about:

  • your name and position
  • purpose of the research
  • research methods and data presentation
  • audience for the research report
  • length of time it will take
  • maintenance of privacy including appropriate disposal of data.

An introduction may be in the form of a letter, email or phone call.

Conduct the interview

Pilot interview

Before interviewing begins a pilot interview is good practice. This allows you to ask your questions and identify any problems.

  • Use plain English and speak clearly.
  • Listen carefully to the answers and give non-verbal feedback to the interviewee – show them you are listening and interested, smile, nod…
  • Allow sufficient time for the interviewee to answer the questions – never interrupt and avoid voicing your opinion – probe if needed.
  • Record the interview, including the date, name and place of the interview.
  • It is far better to record your interview if it is a personal interview. It is most likely that your subject will talk faster than you can write! Asking them to wait while you catch up could disrupt the flow of the interview, and you are more likely to lose your composure. However, it is ethical to ask the interviewees permission beforehand.
  • Thank the interviewee for their time and their thoughts on the topic when you finish.

The interview

Choosing an appropriate person to interview is important. An introductory letter is a means of establishing contact. Following up with a phone call or email to confirm the time and place of the interview.

You should:

  • Arrange a time and place for the interview. The subject will be more comfortable in their own environment.
  • Know how to use your tape (or video) recorder – do a test recording. Does the microphone pick up both voices when you are seated? Is there any background noise that will interfere with the recording?
  • Include extra batteries and tapes along with labels to mark and date the tape
  • Carry a folder or clipboard with the pre-determined questions attached
  • Provide a copy of the questions to the interviewee for reference (if the interview is structured).