Ethnography is a field investigation method. It provides elements of understanding of the local societies in which the ethnographer is immersed, the cultures and ways of thinking and acting of its members.

Thanks to it, ethnology tries to interpret and theorize this factual information to describe a human group, society or community (its interactions, beliefs, organization...).

This science belongs to a more general field: anthropology, which attempts to define the properties of the human being in all its aspects (physiological, geographical or religious). In fact, these are the different stages of the same process.

Anthropology according to Maurice Godelier (Au développement des sociétés humaines)

Anthropology is a discipline of the social sciences, but whose work belongs to the fundamental research, the one that develops "far from the pressures of immediate utility". Indeed, the results of the ethnographic study, the description of the collective Imaginary or the Symbolic that brings this imaginary to life will in no way alter their "ways of thinking[or] their concrete conditions of existence". 

The specificity lies in the method used. Anthropologists must immerse themselves in the societies they study and participate in the life of those societies in order to study systematically and over the long term the social and cultural links that form the basis of those societies. But first of all, the ethnographer must build a "cognitive self", different from his social self and his intimate self, in order to "decentrate himself in relation to the ways that are specific to his society to think of the other, the others" .