This paper introduces and discusses ethnography as a methodological approach to investigate phenomena at the place of practice in WIL. The commensurability of ethnography for examining WIL ‘in situ’ is presented in order to delve deeper into WIL phenomena on placement through greater temporal and physical proximity. Part of the reason we haven’t been able to fully understand student learning on placement, for example, is because of a lack of awareness and uptake of methodologies that employ direct observation in WIL spaces. Ethnography could open the door to investigating a range of research areas previously obscured or inaccessible by methodologies that keep the researcher at a distance. This paper offers practical implications for researchers in WIL by highlighting methods and future research areas conducive with an ethnographic approach.