10 Principles, Authentic Ethnography

April 27th, 2011

Here are the guidelines to conduct authentic ethnography, a valuable process related to the purer observation espoused by academic anthropology.   Doing these principles, we gain enormous depth of real-world experiences observed directly in consumer households.  There are nine principles:

1.Pre-screening quads or triads: Conduct a preliminary, highly creative set of 6-8+ small focus groups or triads in several locations, first.  We choose our ethnographic candidates from these groups

2.Rule of 2: Conduct the longer ethnographic observationals in households based upon the scope of 2 per key segment per two regions to read results accurately

3.Direct immersion: Observe at least 12-18+ reality observationals, each of which is 3-4 or more hours long, for at least 40-90 hours of observation per study

4. Only times of natural behavior: Observe households and subjects only during times when behaviors important to the inquiry are likely to exist and occur spontaneously, with little prompting

5. Limit typical indepth interviewing:  Unlike abbreviated forms of garden-variety “talking ethnographies,” purer spontaneous observationals are emphasized with minimal staging, prompting, or asking direct questions.  We leave time at the end of each observational for a formal interview, if necessary

6.Committed client team: Clients are trained in Authentic Ethnography; each client participates in at least two observationals with lead ethnographer, assists with two data-gathering roles

7.Team reinforcement in field:   Prior to each ethnography, team is refreshed in special observation processes such as  “active invisibility,” “soft gaze,” and “soft presence”

8.Continual ideation:  The lead ehnographer debriefs frequently with client team to make sense of intricate findings, in formal and informal debriefs

9. Digital photography and videography is a key part of process: Households are photographed extensively, then edited for analysis and presentation. Visuals are as important as language

10.  Pay attention to synchronicity and serendipity: Although most research analysis uses more traditional clustering of data against key themes, the element of synchronicity and meaningful coindence of observed events, icons, and behavior within households should be included as a-has and insight.  The blog will report on synchronicity in ethnographic and focus group case histories at a later date

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 at 4:36 pm and is filed under Qualitative market research. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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