ETHNOGRAPHY: WHAT, HOW & WHY
What is ethnography?
contexters: Ethnography is a fresh way to look at the world and people: through the eyes of the other. It requires us to change perspective. Years of education and practice in the field are necessary to become a well-rounded ethnographer. As a scientific method of social research it involves immersing oneself in a particular research field or organisation to observe up close the behaviour and interactions of the people that you wish to study (point-of-experience). It generates precise data on real experiences and answers questions particularly on why and how people do things, how they experience, think of and integrate them into their everyday lives- or not.
How can your clients benefit from it?
c: Ethnography will get you deeper data on point-of-experience than the data generated through other methods, because ethnographers work closely together with the people they study. Data derived in this way allows for deep insights that unlock real experiences! It reveals important information about how consumers really use your products or services (or not), if and which sociocultural aspects might factor into it. For our clients, we turn our long-lasting data into a future-oriented, targeted strategy that creates value.
Who is it for?
It is for people, institutes, organisations and companies that wish to better understand a certain topic in the context of everyday life settings.
How does it work?
c: As trained and experienced ethnographers, we work to directly access what is most relevant to your project: the culture and behaviours of a certain group, the ways people think, what they enjoy doing or not. We observe, participate and talk to people. Different interview techniques ensure that we really get to the core of the question. This way we learn and experience together with people. On the spot!
Does it differ to other methods?
c: YES! We deliver real world data and experiences. No focus group, poll or questionnaire will get you those data sets fresh from the field, filled with rich, alive and real experiences! Because we are right there when people consume, experience, enjoy, criticise, etc. So, if you want to know how your product or services are doing in the world out there- we should talk!
How do you do it?
c: Together with our clients we identify the topic they wish to understand. We turn this information into a thorough research design and head out into the ‘field’. This field is the pre-identified context in which your service and/or product is located and used, consumed or experienced. We then contact people with relevant user experience. Depending on agreement, we follow and observe them, visit them at home and talk to them by applying scientific interview techniques. We collect a rich set of data consisting of participant observation, film, audio and conversation protocols, which then undergoes a rigid analysis process.
Why do you do it?
Because we truly enjoy working with people. We believe that people have something to say. And that listening to people can help us to better understand each other. Also, ethnography as a method has been on a success ride for decades! It has become one of the most effective scientific tools for decoding people’s behaviour and ways of thinking, and has proven to be a powerful tool for understanding foreign cultures. Our own experience supports our belief that ethnography is a perfect tool for helping you understand what people really do, what they want, what makes them happy or sad. Whether your world is corporate, public service or has a whole different background – let’s go on a journey together!