|Saturday, April 9, 2005|
Ten steps to successful ethnography
Found an old-ish article on Ethnographic Research. It talks about basic techniques, experimental techniques and laternative techniques in market research studies using concepts based in ethnography. And advantages and disadvantages. It also highlights 10 steps to successful ethnographic research :
"Siamack Salari founder of Everyday Lives, and Association for Qualitative Research (AQR) spokesman, gives ten tips on ethnography
1. The ethnographer is not there to capture 'interesting' things, but rather ordinary events and conversations. These can be reframed for clients to use in ways that reveal implications and opportunities for products and brands.
2. Do not ask research-like questions or interview the respondents while hanging out with them. This should be saved for the co-discovery process at the end of the observation. It is essential to wait for events to unfold of their own accord, and for products and brands to be used (or not, as the case may be) without any prompting.
3. Apart from the insight into everyday consumer behaviour that ethnography provides, it is also perfectly suited to uncovering those consumer needs and wants that were previously not communicated.
4. Do not reveal the specific nature of the exploration to the household involved. Sensitising its members to products or brands may alter the way they use them.
5. Using a small video camera to film enables you to understand much more when scrutinising the tapes retrospectively. The edited version can be played back to households, and respondents asked to provide a running commentary on their behaviour and thoughts. This is part of the co-discovery process and can be recorded and dubbed on to the final version of the tape.
6. Video clips are worthless without meaning attached to them. It is the researcher's commentary, signposting and fresh ways of interpreting the significance of ordinary events that adds real and substantial value for clients.
7. Capturing events on film means that observations and associated interpretations can be shared, archived and accessed for years to come.
8. Knowing how to present findings in the form of thematically-split observations and analysis, or a series of household films is critical, so agree the most effective communication method with clients for the expected debrief audience.
9. Involve the clients in the ethnographic explorations and invite them to visit the observation sites. Their different agendas, interests and belief systems can lead to some of the most powerful insights.
10. Ethnographic research is dangerous in untrained hands. Stringent ethical standards are vital if the hospitality and openness of the respondents is not to be abused. "
A quick scan, not much depth, but good for a beginner.
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Copyright 2009 Dina Mehta