Ethnography – making meaning out of the mundane
Originally used as a method to understand tribes or cultures in distant lands, today it is applied to any culture including our own. Ethnography is used in numerous sectors – from healthcare, financial services and FMCG to automotive – and is so adaptable because of its dedication to interpreting human behaviour.
Despite being one of the oldest fieldwork techniques, it is often characterised as being a new, sometimes innovative, research method in market research.
The term ‘ethnography’ is sometimes misused and poorly defined by people in the world of market research, and has on occasion become a trendy word chosen to make a research tool appear more innovative, such as ‘ethno-lite’, ‘self-ethnography’, ‘webnography’, or even ‘glassnography’ (referring to participants wearing spy glasses).
In this paper, we go back to basics with a view to presenting a practical guide to the subject area.
- What makes ethnography, ethnography
- The case of identity theft: What isn’t ethnography
- Making decisions based on ethnographic insight