Collaborative Ethnographic Assessment: An Anthropological Rubric for a Community Ecosystem

An Anthropological Rubric for a Community Ecosystem


  • Eric James Haanstad Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame



The ethnographic team of a community-based engineering project in South Bend, Indiana, continues to create modes of anthropological assessment while conducting collaborative research. The Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem (BCe2) is a National Science Foundation-funded project designed to restore and enhance a vital but polluted St. Joseph River tributary by linking the efforts of local community groups, schools, and universities in a revitalizing small city. This paper describes the impetus and creation of an ethnographic rubric for assessing community-based anthropological research towards potential replication in future collaborations. Based on a modification of Rapid Ethnographic Assessment (REA), used widely in environmental, medical, military, and other research applications, this paper offers an REA modification called Collaborative Ethnographic Assessment (CEA).