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  1. 1. What is Ethnography? Defined as:  a method of observing human interactions in social settings and activities (Burke & Kirk, 2001)  as the observation of people in their ‘cultural context’  the study and systematic recording of human cultures; also : a descriptive work produced from such research (Merriam-Webster Online) Rather than studying people from the outside, you learn from people from the inside
  2. 2. Who Invented Ethnography?  Invented by Bronislaw Malinowski in 1915  Spent three years on the Trobriand Islands (New Guinea)  Invented the modern form of fieldwork and ethnography as its analytic component (Anderson, 1997; Malinowski, 1967; 1987; Kuper 1983)
  3. 3. Who Invented Ethnography? Documented three types of data  Detailed description of day to day life and activities  All stories, narratives, myths, etc.  Synoptic Charts (Anderson, 1997; Malinowski, 1967; 1987; Kuper 1983)
  4. 4. Traditional VS Design Ethnography Traditional Design Describes cultures  Describes domains Uses local language  Uses local language Objective  Subjective Compare general  Compare general principles of society principles of design Non-interference  Intervention Duration: Several Years  Duration: Several Weeks/Months (Salvador & Mateas, 1997)
  5. 5. Why do an Ethnographic Study? “Things aren’t always what they seem” Practitioners/ ‘Natives’ are not always the best people  Lack insight  Discovery N.B. – ethnographer should guide design team, not vice versa.
  6. 6. When & Where is it used in the Design Process? Pre-design During design Evaluation Stage Depends on time constraints and when it was first implemented. The sooner, the better. Ethnographer should be seen as a key member of the design team.
  7. 7. MethodologyStep 1: PreparationStep 2: Field StudyStep 3: AnalysisStep 4: Reporting
  8. 8. Step 1: Preparation Familiarize yourself with:  Organization policies  Work culture  Current System & its history Identify the Focus of the Study  Set initial goals and prepare questions.  Can be guided by designer goals Gain access and permission Gate-keepers vs. Sponsors (Rose et al., 1995)
  9. 9. Step 2: Field Study Establish rapport with managers and users. Record everything: your visits, observations, impressions, feelings, hunches, emerging questions, etc.ASAP for accuracyBe Meticulous!!! Field notes, audio, or video recording. Follow any leads (Rose et al., 1995)
  10. 10. Step 3: Analysis Compile data into databases:  Numerical  Textual  Multimedia Quantify data and compile statistics. Reduce and Interpret Data. Review and Redevelop Ideas. (Rose et al., 1995)
  11. 11. Step 4: Reporting Consider multiple audiences and respective goals. Prepare a report and present the findings. Have debriefing meetings (Rose et al., 1995)
  12. 12. Ethnographic Report Purpose Statement Executive Summary Main Body Future Research Appendix Debriefing (Randall/Rouncefield, CSCW 1996 Tutorial)
  13. 13. Dos & Don’ts Don’t Do Ask simple Yes/No  Ask open-ended questions questions Ask leading questions  Phrase questions Use unfamiliar jargon properly to avoid bias Lead/guide the ‘user’  Speak their language  Let user notice things on his/her own (Nielsen, 2002)
  14. 14. Advantages ‘Real-world’ data Provides in-depth understanding of people in an organization. Discovery Can be economical (if you ‘do it yourself’).
  15. 15. Disadvantages Context too specific ‘Going native’ Must negotiate access Time & Money Data is messy and often unstructured. How do you assess significance?
  16. 16. Potential Problems Communication  Ethnographers VS Software Engineers  Solved via Iterative approach. Multiple Roles Time & Money Generalizability