TRACEY LOVEJOY

Contributed Articles

Let’s Get Real about Burnout

an EPIC Talk presented by TRACEY LOVEJOY, Catalyst Constellations & EPIC co-founder Overview Burnout is at an all-time high and mental health at an all-time low. From vague head fogs to serious illness, we feel it in ourselves and our families, friends, teams, and research participants. What’s going on, and what in the world are we supposed to do about it? Despite the statistics (and our ethnographic lens on social and medical problems) we often feel like burnout is our own fault—and we can feel shame about being unproductive or unable to “keep it together.” We need to break that cycle! Let’s talk about burnout and what is happening to ALL of us. In this session we will discuss the causes of burnout (and why it has felt soooooo bad these past few months), how to recognize it, and concrete strategies on how to move past it (or at least make some peace with it and set some boundaries!). Presenter Tracey Lovejoy is the co-founder of EPIC, an anthropologist, and a longtime amplifier of Catalysts. For many...

The Trouble with Job Titles: Getting beyond Buzzwords in a Shifting Employment Landscape

by MARTHA COTTON, GARY GEBHARDT, TRACEY LOVEJOY, ABBAS JAFFER — and you! How have professional skills & requirements for ethnographers and other human-centered researchers changed over the last 10 years—and where are they headed? How can you evaluate the confusing terrain of position titles and descriptions, as well as assess the organizations offering them? Post your questions, insights & ideas! EPIC people gathered for an online discussion with Martha, Tracey, Gary & Abbas. Here are the introductions. Introductions Martha Cotton, Partner, gravitytank Back in the mid-90s when I was at eLab, researchers went through a brief period where our business cards said “Understander.” As a word, it fit to describe what I did for a living. But as a job title to communicate my role to others outside of my small ethnographer community, it was very hard to, well, understand. I have a memory of handing my business card to the store manager of a Boston area sporting goods store where I was to spend the day observing people...

The EPIC 2011 Conversation

TRACEY LOVEJOY, MELISSA CEFKIN, KEN ANDERSON and ED LIEBOW EPIC seems to be a group of people who share a way of thinking. And I wanted to be a part of that....

Tracing the Arc of Ethnographic Impact: Success and (In)visibility of Our Work and Identities

DONNA K. FLYNN and TRACEY LOVEJOY This paper explores ways in which ethnographic impact in a large technology corporation is perceived, re-defined, and recognized – by both practitioners themselves and corporate stakeholders. The authors trace a history of ethnographic successes and stumbles, and ways they have confronted a strong usability paradigm that has shaped organizational assumptions of impact and value for product research. They then identify ways in which contextual analysis of their own practice in the corporation led to the successful creation of a strategic engagement model for ethnography, resulting in its growing influence. Through critical analysis of the conditions of influence in their own organization, the authors’ propose some broader frameworks for ethnographic impact and raise some questions for the EPIC community regarding business value, ethnographic identity, and organizational authority....

“Name That Segment!”: Questioning the Unquestioned Authority of Numbers

DONNA K. FLYNN, TRACEY LOVEJOY, DAVID SIEGEL and SUSAN DRAY In many companies, numbers equal authority. Quantitative data is often viewed as more definitive than qualitative data, while its shortcomings are overlooked. Many of us have worked to marry quantitative with qualitative methods inside organizations to present a fuller view of the people for whom we develop. One area of research that increasingly needs to blend quantitative and qualitative methods is user segmentations. Our software technology product team has been using a segmentation based on quantitative data since 2005. One outcome of this effort has been the development of an algorithm–based “typing” tool intended to be used as a standard tool in recruiting for all segmentation-focused research. We learned that the algorithm was an indecipherable black box, its inner workings opaque even to those who owned it internally. This case study looks at how qualitative research came up against the impenetrable authority of a quantitative segmentation and its associated...