Ethnographic_Research294817091

If you can’t duplicate how people use an interface, product or service in a controlled environment, an ethnographic study is the best way to capture key findings. Our field based ethnographic research services are aimed at uncovering commentary from people in their work environment, while using a portable device, or as they perform everyday tasks.  Observing and questioning people in their natural setting while they shop, work, communicate or play enables the research to be completed in the context of a real world situation and yields specific cultural, social and behavioral findings that might be missed by other research methodologies.

Some examples include:

Contextual Interviews – Excellent for presenting people with ideas or user scenarios before starting a marketing effort or finalizing business objectives. We’ve used this methodology while visiting doctors offices, observing office workflow and understanding the daily tasks of building mangers.

In Home Visits – Need to understand how people take care of their pets, apply beauty products or observe how tech savvy folks use multiple devices when watching TV? Placing a researcher in a customer’s home is a great way to really see what’s going on and learn how and why people behave in specific ways.

Shop Alongs – This is a great way to “get into the customer’s mind” and understand how they shop, where they shop and the steps they take during their purchasing process.

Observational Research – Watching people from a bit of a distance and noting behaviors, recording artifacts and detecting patterns are some of the goals of this style of research. We’ve used this methodology at a large customer service center with 500+ employees to help improve employee efficiency, retention rates and customer satisfaction.

Corporate ethnography isn’t just for innovation anymore. It’s central to gaining a full understanding of your customers and the business itself. Unlike traditional market researchers, who ask specific, highly practical questions, anthropological researchers visit consumers in their homes or offices to observe and listen in a non-directed way. Our goal is to see people’s behavior on their terms, not ours.

Source – HBR March 2009 – Ken Anderson – Anthropologist at Intel Research