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Exploring the Department of Ethnography: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 21 November, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team


Ethnography is the systematic study of people and cultures from a ground-level perspective. It involves the researcher immersing themselves in the community to observe and interact with participants. The Department of Ethnography, typically found within universities or museums, is dedicated to this complex and insightful field. Understanding such departments' work is not just academically stimulating but also a potential IELTS reading topic. The following passage is designed to challenge and enhance your IELTS reading skills while providing insights into the world of ethnographic study.


The Department of Ethnography is an intellectual hub where the intricate tapestry of human cultures is unravelled and preserved. At its core, ethnography is about storytelling – collecting the narratives of diverse groups and individuals to construct a comprehensive portrait of societal functions and traditions.

Ethnographic researchers are trained to approach communities with respect and sensitivity. They are adept at navigating through the nuances of social customs and languages, often spending years in the field. Such dedication is the cornerstone of the department's philosophy, highlighting the importance of cultural empathy and understanding.

The department's archives are a treasure trove of artifacts, documents, and recordings, each piece providing a window into a world often vastly different from our own. From the vibrant weavings of the Andean textile artisans to the haunting chants of Siberian shamans, every item has a story to tell.

The role of ethnographers has evolved over time. Initially seen as observers, they are now active participants in cultural preservation. They advocate for the protection of indigenous lands, languages, and knowledge systems, often against the tides of globalization and modernization that threaten to wash away these ancient practices.

Questions and Answers:

Q1. What is the primary focus of ethnography?

A. Archaeological excavation

B. Historical events

C. Human cultures

D. Political systems

Q2. How are ethnographic researchers described in the passage?

A. Novice and intrusive

B. Respectful and sensitive

C. Distant and disconnected

D. Disrespectful and aggressive

Q3. Fill in the Blank: Ethnographic researchers spend years in the ______ to gather comprehensive information.

Q4. True or False: The Department of Ethnography is exclusively concerned with the past.

Q5. What kind of materials can be found in the department's archives?

A. Fictional novels

B. Legal documents

C. Artifacts and recordings

D. Modern artwork

Q6. According to the passage, what has been a significant change in the role of ethnographers?

A. From participants to observers

B. From observers to active participants

C. From teachers to students

D. From students to teachers

Q7. Fill in the Blank: Ethnographers advocate for the protection of indigenous _______.

Q8. True or False: Ethnographers are now less involved in cultural preservation than in the past.

Q9. What is at risk due to globalization and modernization, according to the passage?

A. Technological advancements

B. Indigenous lands and knowledge systems

C. Urban development

D. International trade

Q10. Fill in the Blank: The Department of Ethnography's philosophy highlights the importance of cultural _______ and understanding.

Answers with Explanations:

A1. C. Human cultures

Explanation: The passage clearly states that the primary focus of ethnography is the study of human cultures.

A2. B. Respectful and sensitive

Explanation: The passage describes researchers as approaching communities with respect and sensitivity, reflecting their professional ethic.

A3. Field

Explanation: The term 'field' refers to the on-site research environment where ethnographers gather their data.

A4. False

Explanation: The passage indicates that the department's role includes active participation in cultural preservation, which is a contemporary concern.

A5. C. Artifacts and recordings

Explanation: The archives are mentioned to house artifacts, documents, and recordings, providing a historical perspective into different cultures.

A6. B. From observers to active participants

Explanation: The passage states that the role of ethnographers has evolved from merely observing to actively participating in cultural preservation.

A7. Lands

Explanation: Indigenous lands are mentioned alongside languages and knowledge systems as areas of advocacy for ethnographers.

A8. False

Explanation: The passage mentions that ethnographers have become more involved in cultural preservation over time.

A9. B. Indigenous lands and knowledge systems

Explanation: The passage specifically names indigenous lands, languages, and knowledge systems as being at risk from globalization and modernization.

A10. Empathy

Explanation: Cultural empathy and understanding are highlighted as key components of the department's philosophy.

Tips for Cracking the IELTS Reading Exam:

Tip 1: Understand the Passage Structure

Familiarize yourself with how informational passages are structured, as this will help you locate answers more quickly.

Tip 2: Develop Skimming and Scanning Skills

Practice skimming for the main idea and scanning for specific information, which is essential for time management during the test.

Tip 3: Expand Your Academic Vocabulary

Build a strong vocabulary base, especially related to common IELTS themes like cultural studies, sciences, and social issues.

Tip 4: Practice Active Reading

Engage with the text by making notes, underlining key terms, and paraphrasing sections to ensure comprehension.

Tip 5: Take Practice Tests

Regular practice with IELTS reading materials and tests will improve your reading speed and question understanding.

By incorporating these tips and carefully analyzing the provided passage and answers, you will be well-prepared to tackle ethnography-related reading questions on your IELTS exam.

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

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