Tag Archives: ethnography

Immersive Ethnography and Other Unconventional Research on a Budget by Clinton Jenkin, Barna Group #CRC2014 #MRX

CRC_brochure2013Live blogging from the Corporate Researchers Conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Immersive Ethnography and Other Unconventional Research on a Budget
Clinton Jenkin, Barna Group

  • Rethink your assets and rethink your costs. Different people are highly competent in different areas and you might not realize it.
  • Don’t just think skills, think about what people are interested
  • James Cameron really wanted to do an underwater dive of the titanic so he funded a dive for the movie – interest led to different result
  • His soft costs were moderately low – people’s time is a set cost. How do you maximize this if you can’t add any new money
  • most of us in market research fell into it from another place. He came from social psychology and realized he hated grading papers
  • In MRX, when you get enough of the answer, you’re done. Where is the point of diminishing returns. How many completes can you get away with – can you spot where the difference will be incremental.
  • Best practices are great but they are always necessary, good decisions aren’t improved by 5 more people  – “Good enough is good enough” – Don’t use 600 if 400 will do, and don’t use 400 if 200 will do [ouch, my ears are burning]
  • Find one place where you can splurge and make it better
  • Decided to do an ethnography – what is the critical mass to have good insight. Started by sending a workbook to 12 families. Fill out a profile of each family member. Schedules for everyone. Thirty day journal Asked them to draw a map of their house. Went with pen and paper instead of online. Not cheaper, not faster, but far less complicated. Everything was in one place. Also sent a flip camera so they could see everyday life.
  • IMG_2695[1]They did use an outside recruiter so that the research would be blind.
  • They posed a different question every day for 30 days. They learned it was good enough at 20 days.
  • It will always be mom filling it out.
  • Facebook access was not valuable, they didn’t have time to review the data
  • Their outlook schedule was very valuable
  • Had lots of follow up questions via 90 minute telephone interview as a result of all this data
  • People agreed to a home visit for 7 days during the day – went on errands with them, watched tv with them, impromptu interviews during dinner, played ball with the kids. They asked a second time later on just to be sure.  [wow!]
  • Learned that moms feel stressed when they have to make a lot of decisions not just because they’re busy
  • Learned about the importance of television – lots of physical contact between all the family members, it’s cuddle time for moms and dad
  • Really felt they could talk on behalf of people as opposed to about people
  • Incentives for workbook were $1000. $500 could have been enough.
  • Home visits were $800.
  • Project management was $250 per recruit.
  • Splurged on the flip cameras but today you wouldn’t even have to do that. It was a tangible item that made responders feel good.

The Future of Research Storytelling: Ethnographic Animation by Kate Ertmann #CASRO #MRX

Live blogging from the #CASRO tech conference in Chicago. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

The Future of Research Storytelling: Ethnographic Animation by Kate Ertmann, President, Animation Dynamic, Inc.

  • grew up in film and tv, in front and behind screen
  • is animation just cartoons and  moving things? it’s not just steamboat willie
  • in snow white, everyone can related to at least one of the characters because it is such a great story
  • “The Don” changes everything, he is a digital native, he is an animator at her company, he looks at all types of media on any screen, doesn’t care what kind of screen tv theatre mobile tablet, doesn’t matter if it’s live action or cartoon
  • animation can be more engaging for the brain than real actors
  • animation generates significantly higher conceptual understanding
  • comprehension is higher for students who used computer animation – not just storytelling but comprehending
  • animation can show what your eye can’t see, present something that doesn’t exist, convey complex information, exist in time, allow you to feel an experience [the movie “UP” makes me cry and how fake is that!]
  • ethnography is the study of people today, from how people shop, at a certain, how do they clean their house, with this specific product; could be writing or videos, but how do you find meaning in that data, animation can be another tool for this
  • marble answering machine – 1992 Durrell Bishop’s visualization of a machine; get a visual and you experienced it for yourself, if it’s only in writing or a list, you wouldn’t experience the timing, the texture, the sound, can critique both good and bad of the system – what happens when my 3 year old gets ahold of the marbles?  the machine was never built which saved a lot of time and money
  • when people watch other people, they unconsciously look at the specific people – she’s too young/old, is she american, look at her shirt, i want her shoes – but if it’s just a blue outline of a person, you focus on what they’re doing not what they might be like
  • video of opening a package, for a left handed or right handed person, now test if your hands are wet from something else
  • test new products or processes out using an animation
  • scale the assets – ethnographic animation, ideation, new product visualization, virtual prototyping, working simulation, user testing, market introduction
  • people eventually get attached to the characters, name them, and talk about them as if they’re real, a visual can bring people together
  • it allows developers to see and feel what needs to happen, not just put a requirement to start building something, actually gives the beginning of the specs that engineers need to build it
  • Video connects real people in real situations, testimonials, talking heads, but animation means you can’t temporarily ignore demographics, nationality, gender. it’s not to manipulate the data, it’s to focus the data.
  • show off a new product with video but animations let you show it off before it exists
  • video lets your capture a moment like surprise and delight, but animation lets your iterate, change, customize and do it again
  • animation is not funny cartoons anymore, it’s a business tool
  • ethnographic animation captures people’s experiences – weight, children’s products
  • it does indeed scale
  • don’t be afraid of failing, don’t freak out about solving a problem perfectly right away

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Self Ethnography by Caroline Fletcher #NetGain8 #MRX

Live blogging from MRIA’s #NetGain8 conference in Toronto. Any errors or stupid jokes are my own.


Self Ethnography-From Push to PullCaroline Fletcher, Research Director, Sound Research, Toronto

  • why does research get boiled down into boring slides?
  • film creates an emotional engagement with research findings
  • a 5 to 7 minute can go cross department and cross pollinate, it sings, longer shelf life expectancy, highly efficient
  • maybe stop doing one pagers and do a film instead
  • people forget to fill out their diaries and fill in all the days at the last minute
  • how would you deal with “pretend we’re not here watching you behave”
  • provides genuine behaviour without other people watching them, not moments staged for moderator
  • respondents feel more relaxed on camera, and offer a little more creativity – homemade slideshows, filming commutes
  • people might not open the door to strangers but they will do this
  • people might bring you into their thanksgiving day as they carve the turkey or as they receive their letter of  being accepted as adoptive parents [damn, that’s making me cry]
  • film pain points like putting together ikea furniture, or hooking up the tv [imagine doing a survey “When you were attaching part A to part C, what difficulties did you experience? HA HA HA]
  • film allows cultural barriers to be broken, can hear personal private conversations that would never happen with someone outside the culture
  • good for documenting journeys where a film crew can’t go, great for pre and post tests, good for focus group conversation
  • video is not just to sugar coat a bitter pill

Beyond Ethnography by Paulette Kish #TMRE #MRX

Live blogs by @LoveStats of @Conversition. This is a session summary from The Market Research Event by IIR in Orlando, Florida, November 2011. It was posted mere minutes after completion of the talk. Any inaccuracies are my own. Any humorous side remarks are also my own. Feel free to leave comments and critiques.

***                                                                                                          ***

  • The less you reflect your consumers, the more you need to build empathy
  • Dogs to empathy very well :). They have instinctual way to get to know each other. Humans don’t have that sniffing benefit. 🙂
  • Some places attract certain people like Harley Davidson, Apple, Avon. You work for them because you like them.
  • Leadership needs to understand consumer
  • When you look in the mirror, do you see your consumer “I don’t do the shopping” “I use the company store” “I don’t have time for twitter” These are empathy gaps.
  • We KNOW what they feel. We know HOW they think and what they do. We need to FEEL what they feel. We can relate to WHY they think. We need to turn knowledge into the ability to feel.
  • Research tools help but they are not sufficient

    Harley-Davidson Hummer single-cylinder motorcycle

    Image via Wikipedia

  • Cultivate empathy! [I really like this. This is a unique perspective]
  • Working in beverages, she always sipped product. She didn’t drink a pop like a consumer would. Taste is not everything.  She brought the 11 ounce bottle to a meeting and told people to drink it. They couldnt’ finish the bottle. Do what the consumer will be doing. Put it in the right behaviour. Look at satiation and wear out for beverages.
  • Empathize with people who have a different situation. Open packages with gloves on.
  • Walk in your shoppers shoes. Wear their hats.
  • Touch point inventory. Consumer sabbatical. Empathy journal.
  • Touchpoint is process of each phase of shopper journey. Inventory of touchpoints. Identify empathy gaps. Explore, prepare, consumer, restore, dispose, shop, buy, transport, returnign it, read, wathc listen, share it
  • Sabbatical -if you aren’t a shopper, go shopping. if you don’t cook, cook. If you don’t have kids, borrow some (don’t steal them). Set a tight budget, plan and shop for 5, prepare and serve all week. See where the tradeoffs are. Don’t imagine it, do it.[love this ]
  • Journal your feels, look for patterns. detail all the facts and your feelings, opinions, emotions.
  • Company culture – get more people involved, immersion retreat or extreme ethnography [EXTREME!!!!] Moving a focus group to a different room does not count
  • Engage senior leadership, project teams, move away from the office, mix job functions, debrief every day. Discuss how it impacts your business.
  • do it at least once per year, but three seasonal sessions works well.
  • Digital discover – look at online language, read it, immerse yourself, follow the links
  • Get off the couch, get beyond migrated qualitative – shadowing, day in the life, no videos, no cameras, mystery shopping, get into personal ethnography.

Beyond Ethnography: Creating a Culture
Committed to Consumer Empathy
Paulette Kish, Strategic Insights Officer, Mars Petcare

What Ethnographers Do: Interview Guide (via Patterns of Play)

[tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]This is the first time I’ve reblogged via wordpress so who knows what will happen!

Anyways, I thought this was an interesting way to remind people what social media research is. It’s not monitoring or reading or counting or answering questions. It’s formulating a plan around structured questions in order to come up with answers and possibly more questions. It’s “good old fashioned” ethnography brought into the world of social media.

Read and appreciate!

Part of the documentation we assemble before every project is an interview and observation guide. It’s supposed to serve as a checklist for supplies, as well as a guideline for how to conduct the interview. It includes the information we are trying to get at, as well as the questions we’re using to do so. Here is our interview guide for our current project. If you would like a copy of our interview guide, you can download it here as a Word docume … Read More

via Patterns of Play

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  • The Lost Art of Qualitative Research

    Is it lost or did it barely exist to begin with?

    As I think back through my academic career, I realize that qualitative research was the one major missing piece. I took innumerable courses on statistics and design, but the focus without exception was always quantitative.

    As part of my undergraduate studies, I did contribute to an ethnographic study of small companies, and also for a content analysis study about babies who failed to thrive. Both led to fascinating discoveries about the respective topics simply through the analysis of words.

    But, these studies were not part of the curriculum. They were simply some of my after school activities. They were just things I volunteered to do because they were interesting and I felt they enhanced my course work.

    I don’t know why curriculums are set up like this, set up where you only need to know one side of the coin. With social media research just over the horizon and ready to pounce with force never before seen, perhaps it’s time for a change.

    IMG_3353.JPG‘ by trekbody via Flickr
    Image is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution licence

    Read these too


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