An Introduction to Ethnography

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Shopping Ethnography: 5 Reasons to get out of the lab and into the field (and how to do it)

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An Introduction to Ethnography

  1. 1. SHOPPING ETHNOGRAPHY 5 Reasons to get out of the lab and into the field (and how to do it)
  2. 2. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: 1. Users are in their natural environment ‣ Observe users in context ‣ IN LAB... users are remove from their environment and place into an area that does not reproduce the same mindset as a natural setting 2 Photo: www.bangui-hotels.com
  3. 3. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: 2. External factors can influence behavior ‣ External factors include: co-shoppers, contextual dynamics, situational, mood ‣ IN LAB... these factors do not exists, cannot see the full customer experience 3 Photo: coolspotters.com
  4. 4. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: 3. Identify the “real” user ‣ “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things...” - Margaret Mead (Anthropologist) ‣ IN LAB... users are asked to recall or predict their actions, and does not accurately judge what they did or will do 4 What people say they do What people do Photo: http://emotionaladroit.wordpress.com/
  5. 5. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: 4. Follow the story lines ‣ Researchers can see the whole customer journey (entering store to point of sale) ‣ IN LAB... one hour sessions lead to incomplete fragments of the users’ experience 5 Photo: http://blogs.falmouth.k12.ma.us/
  6. 6. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: 5. Project team immerses in the user setting ‣ Walk a mile in the users’s shoe to better understand how customers shop your brand ‣ IN LAB... project team sits behind a mirror (no direct interaction with participant) 6 Photo: https://asunews.asu.edu/
  7. 7. ... Now, how do you conduct ethnographic research? 1. DEFINE what you want to observe (objectives/goals) 2. CHOOSE who you will observe 3. IDENTIFY which approach works best 4. OBSERVE 5. ANALYZE findings
  8. 8. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: ... Now, how do you conduct ethnographic research? 1. DEFINE what you want to observe ‣ What are your objectives and goals? ‣ Keep it broad, but focused so it can allow you to make new insightful discoveries ‣ Example: If you sell coffee; observe spaces where people consume coffee (cafes, on the streets, in the office) and look at the role coffee consumption plays in the users’ lives 8
  9. 9. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: ... Now, how do you conduct ethnographic research? 2. CHOOSE who you will observe ‣ Who’s perspective do you want to understand? ‣ Example: ‣ Gen Y and their mobile addiction ‣ First time parents and baby shopping ‣ Patients waiting in hospitals 9
  10. 10. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: ... Now, how do you conduct ethnographic research? 3. IDENTIFY which approach works best 10 IN-STORE OBSERVATIONS INTERCEPTS SHOP-ALONGS Unobtrusively observe customers as they browse, and purchase – see the entire shopping experience Researcher: ‣ Do not talk to shoppers ‣ “Invisible” Shoppers: ‣ Unaware being observed Interview customers after the point of purchase - understand motivations behind purchase decisions Researcher: ‣ Observes and interview after shopper makes a purchase ‣ “Interviews” Shoppers: ‣ Aware of observation (after purchase decision have been made) Researcher shops alongside actual customer (shopper can be recruited in advance or on site) Researcher: ‣ Observes and interviews throughout shopping experience ‣ “Moderates and probes” Shoppers: ‣ Aware of observation
  11. 11. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: ... Now, how do you conduct ethnographic research? 4. OBSERVE ‣ Create an observation checklist ‣ USE EYES and EARS ‣ Example: ‣ If you’re the MTA looking to improve the mass transit experience, look at commuters, how they interact with the environment (subway trains), other commuters, with ads - where do pain points occur, etc.? 11
  12. 12. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: ... Now, how do you conduct ethnographic research? 5. ANALYZE findings ‣ Look for common themes and patterns in observations and story lines to find what drives behavior ‣ As you analyze the findings, think about what you can do to improve the overall experience? 12
  13. 13. ETHNOGRAPHY | 2013 | PAGE: When conducting ethnographic research remember... DOs ‣ Be unobtrusive (observe discreetly) ‣ Use your eyes – non-verbal cues (observe the environment and how the customers interact in that space) ‣ Use your ears – verbal cues (listen to what is said) ‣ Preserve objectivity- create a persona for yourself (away from your demographics/brand) to remove any preconceived notions ‣ Find themes among behaviors/patterns (even in unexpected patterns) ‣ Work with other researchers on the floor 13 DON’Ts ‣ Be obvious (when taking pictures/recording videos) ‣ Be too concerned with note-taking (instead focus on data naturally occurring) ‣ Follow only one customer (instead observe different customers/situations) ‣ Be biased (focusing on past knowledge can alter results instead keep an open mind) ‣ Make observations with answers in mind, do not make validation a goal (use ethnography to gain deeper understanding of the bigger picture) ‣ Generalize actions of individuals to reflect a larger majority
  14. 14. THANKS! motivatedesign.com @motivate_design Get in touch at emily@motivatedesign.com

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