What Is Ethnography

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What Is Ethnography

  1. 1. What is ethnography?<br />Sam Ladner, PhD<br />Consultant and Principal<br />
  2. 2. What is Ethnography?<br /><ul><li>What is ethnography?
  3. 3. Ethnographic skills</li></ul>Interviewing<br />Observing<br /><ul><li>Types of observations</li></ul>Overt vs. covert<br />Ethical issues<br /><ul><li>Corporate ethnography case studies</li></ul>Nokia<br />Novo Nordisk<br />Intel<br />Prada<br />Famous Ethnographies<br />
  4. 4. What is ethnography?<br />Ethno = culture; graphy = writing<br />A method, a product<br />Immersive<br />Extended period of time<br />Often focused on a particular culture<br />
  5. 5. Observing<br />Ethnographic skill No. 1<br />Denver, CO: Scooters in local supermarket: represents shoppers’ need to avoid walking while shopping<br />Toronto, Ontario: Intentional manipulation of corporate logo: symbolizes resistance.<br />
  6. 6. Interviewing<br />Ethnographic Skill No. 2<br />Or in a “foreign” culture<br />Can happen in a workplace “culture”<br />
  7. 7. Overt versus covert<br />Types of observation<br />Overt<br />Covert<br />Ethnographer informs participants of their study and is transparent about research.<br />Ethnography does not inform participants of the study and must balance ethical issue of deception.<br />
  8. 8. Ethical implications<br />Informed consent<br />Protection of privacy<br />Harm to participants<br />Deception<br />
  9. 9. Great ethnographies<br />Crestwood Heights, John Seeley: classic study of what is now known to be Toronto’s Forest Hill neighbourhood<br />All of Our Kin: Carol Stack’s nuanced study of African American women’s intertwined lives<br />Street Corner Society: William Foote Whyte’s “Chicago school” of urban ethnography<br />Learning to Labour: Paul Willis’s study of working class British boys becoming working class men<br />
  10. 10. Gaining access to closed sites<br />Open<br />Communities<br />Malls<br />Raves<br />Closed<br />Firms<br />Schools<br />Hospitals<br />Need permission and introductions from a gatekeeper<br />No permission required, but must be accepted by the group. Go through gatekeepers.<br />
  11. 11. Case studies<br />Corporate Ethnography<br />Researched how consumers in developing countries deal with diabetes. Uncovered unmet needs in diabetes treatment<br />Ethnography in Asia and Africa lead to “image only” cell phone design with long battery life<br />Employs 24 full-time ethnographers to research computer use in the home, at work, and in the mobile space<br />
  12. 12. Case Study: Prada shopping<br />Corporate Ethnography<br />Embedded RFID tags in clothes so shoppers can easily find complete outfits<br />Created frosted glass doors for changing rooms that turn to windows at the touch of a button<br />Mirrors have a 5-second delay allowing shoppers to see the view from behind<br />

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