The basis for social life, no doubt, is that people (such as social scientists) have empathy for other people, or sympathy, as founding father Adam Smith used to say more than 200 years ago. Interpreting what others say, feel and do also lies at the heart of ethnographers, as well as looking closely, and then some more.
Arguably the most classic introduction to ethnography is the first chapter in Malinowski, Bronislaw (1922), Argonauts of the Western Pacific. The entire book is online. Other classic ethnographies include: E.E. Evans-Pritchard (1940), The Nuer, and Margaret Mead (1928), Coming of Age in Samoa.
Also delightful is Becker, Howard S. (1958) 'Problems of inference and proof in participant observation', ASR 23: 652-660, because he makes no - fruitless - boundary between qualitative and quantitative research, which many more recent scholars others did. On “how not to lie with ethnography,” see Mitchell Duneier (2012) Sociological Methodology 41: 1-11. Because individuals are always interdependent, they have to be studied as such, namely in fields rather than in places: Matthew Desmond (2014) Theoretical Sociology 43: 547-579.
One of the experts at the AISSR is Tina Harris.