Training teams in authentic ethnography​ 

 

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When training a team to go into in situ environments in a way that makes both team and subjects comfortable immediately and throughout the length of the ethnography -- and encourages authentic behavior of the subjects under observation -- a few guidelines are helpful to conduct authentic ethnography. Authentic ethnography is a less reactive, more spontaneous, purer observational process espoused by academic anthropologists. We gain enormous depth of real-world experiences observed directly in consumer households. Here they are as principles:

 

1.Pre-screening quads or triads: Conduct a preliminary, highly creative set of 4-8+ small focus groups or triads in several locations, first. We choose our ethnographic candidates from these groups and gain valuable preliminary insight into motivations, behaviors, and attitudes

 

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 8 but better is 12-18+ reality observationals, each of which is 3+ hours long, for at least 36 to 60 hours of observation per study. If less ethnography is done, findings may be too idiosyncratic or hard to read for definitive insights

 

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,” authentic ethnographic observationals emphasize minimal staging, prompting, or asking direct questions. Of the three hours, we try for 2 hours of more spontaneous behavior; we leave an hour at the end of each observational for a formal interview, if necessary, although often all our objectives have been accomplished naturally. Natural behavior is the most viable form of finding in ethnography

 

6.Committed client team: Clients are trained in Authentic Ethnography even if team members have already gone on previous ethnographies. 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, the team is refreshed in special observation processes such as “active invisibility,” “soft gaze,” “gentle presence,” and usage of only open-ended questions

 

8.Continual ideation: The lead ehnographer debriefs frequently with client team after each authentic observational, to make sense of intricate findings. At the conclusion of fieldwork, a creative ideation debrief of 3-4 hours is held back at client headquarters to bring all teams together and share, coalesce, and build on observational findings

 

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

 

10. 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 evolve.

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