Ethnographers tend to be uneasy about survey research. Some of us shun it because it seems “reductive” of human experience; others are intimidated by complex methods and analytics that weren’t part of our research training. But surveys are everywhere—some are rigorous and insightful, many are lousy. Whether we’re conducting surveys, collaborating with colleagues who do, or interpreting survey-based studies, an understanding of survey research fundamentals is essential.
Tutorial offers survey basics from an ethnographer and survey methodologist who collaborate at the world’s leading provider of media and marketing information. Their crash course on survey fundamentals includes:
when to use surveys and why
basics of survey design
writing effective survey questions
evaluating survey quality
the total survey error framework
how ethnographers and survey researchers can add value to each others’ work
This tutorial is designed for...
This tutorial explores research in people’s homes through digital methods. The instructors focus on how to utilize participant’s existing digital skills and materials to undertake ethnographic research on and in their home environment, and develop a greater awareness of how geographical and socio-economic circumstances impact the research process. Participants collaborate to discuss how understanding of domestic contexts might frame our research design and specific methods, and consider ways for enhancing the collaborative and participatory process of data collection in the domestic space.
This tutorial was presented in full at EPIC202020. The video includes instructor presentations; discussions and breakout sessions are excluded for the privacy of the participants.
BROWSE ALL TUTORIALS...
Qual and quant are so divided these days—by academic discipline, language, communities of practice, job titles. Too often, quantitative research is conflated with data science (or vice versa), and data science with optimization algorithms or simply engineering. In many organizations, being “data-driven” tends to define “data” with a narrow conception of enumeration and (mis-) conceptions about the kind of evidence that is suitable to act on.
This tutorial critically examines this territory and move beyond it, empowering ethnographers to develop more interdisciplinary programs of inquiry. First the instructors review fundamentals of quantitative research and provide tools ethnographers can use to evaluate its quality and validity. Then they examine constraints and barriers to quant/qual collaboration, including time, funding, values, epistemological conflicts, organizational silos, and more. Finally, using core principles that underlie...
Ovetta Sampson covers when, how, and where to integrate ethnography and data science in the exploratory research process to have better and more ethical AI product development outcomes. With a combination of lecture, case study examples, and exercises, attendees gained a clear understanding of why making data a stakeholder in user research will create a more ethical and human-centered AI product. This tutorial is created especially for researchers who understand the need to mix ethnography and data science but just don’t know quite how to do it. Topics include:
Bringing data into research planning to help identify and reduce bias
Bringing data science into synthesis to help illuminate system solutions
Bringing data science into insight and design principle generation
Aligning qualitative data and behavioral data
This tutorial was presented in full at EPIC202020. The video includes instructor presentations; discussions and breakout sessions are excluded for the privacy of...
This tutorial examines ways ethnography is uniquely positioned to contribute to the design and innovation of environmentally sustainable (or even better than merely sustainable) products and services. It reviews several emerging design perspectives—such as circular design, regenerative design, systems-oriented design, and value-centered design—and explores ways that ethnographers in industry can use them their own practice and organizations to build sustainability considerations into their work. It is valuable for those who are relatively new to sustainability as well as those with deeper experience who are interested in expanding our collective impact toward more planet-friendly industries. The session covers:
Opportunity costs of doing design research “as usual”
Key perspectives and approaches for sustainable design and innovation
Baking sustainability perspectives into research
Ethnographic/anthropological theories and methods that can support a sustainability...
In this keynote address, we join indigenous writer, historian and agriculturalist Bruce Pascoe on his farm on the South East coast of Australia. Bruce employs the theme of Caring to speak to a range of topics close to his heart. While walking on Country with him, we are taken to a ceremonial site on his land that illustrates the importance of cultural heritage, reconciliation, and language to contemporary farming practices in Australia. We visit a forest landscape devastated by the ‘superfires’ experienced over Australia’s 2019/2020 summer, where we learn of the importance of indigenous approaches to land management and controlled burning. Introducing us to some of the nutritious plants and vegetables that indigenous people cultivated in pre-colonial Australia, Bruce talks us through his farming team’s current experiments and future plans to develop indigenous agriculture on a commercial scale on the farm, and he foregrounds the importance of training a new generation of indigenous farmers, chefs, botanists,...
Australia National University
The pandemic has disrupted everything from the global flow of goods and services, to the actions that individuals can take in their daily lives. It has changed, for now at least, the ecosystems in which we work—impacting both how we think about ethnographic activity and how it is might be used. In Australia, the pandemic has resulted in a collection of massive, unplanned, social experiments in scale, at scale. Examining five of these social experiments as they’ve played out, Genevieve will extract lessons that seem relevant to the work we all do now and to the ways we might want to orient to the future. After all, as the pandemic is demonstrating, scale is neither a stable nor singular concept, and our responses to it will need to be appropriately located and considered.
Genevieve Bell is a Distinguished Professor, Director of the 3A Institute (3Ai) and Florence Violet McKenzie Chair at the Australian National University. She is also Vice President and a Senior Fellow at Intel...
RICH RADKA, Chair
This panel explores the specific reasons organizations generate ideas about the future, the methods they choose, how they act on foresight, and consequences for both business and society. Panelists address the theme of scale in various dimensions, such as how to appropriately scale our imaginings, scaling to multiple time horizons, scaling breadth vs. depth of focus, and thinking of scale in terms of organizational value creation.
Rich Radka has 20+ years of providing deep human insights to corporate, scale-up and public sector clients in the arenas of innovation, customer experience, strategy and forecasting. He brings inspired design thinking, and a practical human-centred approach to co-create solutions that involve customers, employees, partners and other stakeholders.Wendy Chamberlin serves as the Global Program Director for the BOMA Project, a livelihood development...
AUTUMN SANDERS FOSTER, Chair
Douyon Signature Labs
University of Kansas
WILLIAM LEZ HENRY
University of West London
Weekes in Advance Enterprises
Within the growing global discourse around race, whiteness, and racial injustice lies a call to address the ways systemic racism and normalized whiteness continue to shape our work. Many organizations have issued formal statements but struggle to identify and implement meaningful next steps. Through this panel, we will discuss how change works in concert with or opposition to dominant norms, values, and culture in our research and our organizations.
Autumn Sanders Foster has worked with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and non-profits, helping them grow their businesses by understanding their customers. She launched Quire Consulting in 2017 to provide clients access to qualitative research and design strategy that brings real people into the center of the design process. She leads...
ALICIA DUDEK, Chair
Georgia Institute of Technology
SUSAN MOYLAN COOMBS
We invented our world at human height, with us in the middle. Much of our work is designed even more narrowly, with a particular kind of human at the middle. What happens when we go beyond the limited “user-centric” or “human-centric” scales? What does it look like, feel like, move like when humans are not in the middle of the system?
Alicia Dudek is an experienced design ethnographer and futurist. Her work brings the customer’s point of view and human voice to any group’s innovations and decisions. The work she does with teams brings empathy into the organisation to help inform, inspire, and initiate innovation. Central to her ability as a change agent is a capability to illuminate absences of customer understanding and to build powerful projects to rally teams and decision makers around their client’s needs. She is the founder of Mycoreality,...
San Jose State University
Institute for the Future
San Jose State University
This tutorial introduces Ethnofutures to ethnographers who want to integrate forecasting methods and tools into their current professional practices. The goal is to translate ethnographic material into imaginative, but grounded, scenarios of their future users, services, and products. Practitioners, such as designers and business strategists, must imagine futures based on existing signals of change. Those signals can come from the activities of individuals, the organizations in which they work, as well as the larger social events around them. The forces fomenting change can be highly localized, such as a specific municipal policy on gig workers or also be global in scope, pointing to the role of gig work as a facet of contemporary transnational capitalism. Moreover, the future itself is scalable: Organizations toggle between data-rich forecasts that extend less than a year, to more speculative...
Jump the Fence
PechaKucha Presentation—This PechaKucha gives a personal perspective on the ethical dilemmas around the impact of an individual's actions, and the meaning of an ethnographer's projects in the context of the scale where these play out.
The story begins with the spectacle of the 2020 Australian bushfires and reflects on their enormous scale. Within this context what is the meaning of individual actions to limit global warming?
The story shifts to the work context and explores the dichotomy of human impacts vs. the marketing metrics that typically measure success. Using an example of a research project with an overtly purposeful aim we explore the tension between ethnography as a tool for understanding the problem and the question of whether the scaled result truly addresses the end-users’ problem.
Returning to the bushfires, we again look at the scaled government response and the question of how successfully this met the needs of those impacted. We explore the...
PechaKucha Presentation—In this presentation we argue that in many regulated industries such as banking, finance, and insurance, a post qualitative vs. quantitative world is not yet a reality. In such an environment, advanced analytics could be likened to being in its teenage years, while behavioral research is still in its infancy. Big data primarily drives our metrics, but in such a highly digitized and individualized culture, we know that ethnography is the missing piece of the puzzle. This means that as social scientists we must be the loudest (and sometimes lone) voice calling to leverage employees who are trained in these skill sets and incorporate these methods into our work. Slow and steady wins the race and our wins look different when compared with companies that already have been convinced of the value and don't have to do as much work to incorporate them into existing analysis. We have found that becoming EPIC members has been a turning point for our own...
Harvard Business School
PechaKucha Presentation—Customer ethnography and user research continues to move higher up the priority list of Fortune 500 corporations. As a design researcher at a global consultancy, my clients often consist of new or aspiring consumer research groups eager to scale quickly. Excited at first, these groups or individuals are ready to dive in but get discouraged by the size and price tag of “big leap user research projects” then end up never pursuing ethnography at all. Watching this pattern unfold client after client, it started to remind of making sourdough. Because novice bakers start out trying to make sourdough from scratch, expecting heaps of picturesque loaf of bread right off the bat. But that's not how sourdough is made. The first step is finding a “starter”. Sourdough starters are small pieces of fermented dough that one can really only get from an experienced baker. You need to integrate it into your ingredients and to make the sourdough rise, scale, and bubble....
Convo Research & Strategy Pvt Ltd
PechaKucha Presentation—This paper raises the implications of simplifying algorithms for scale and uplifting content that is damaging for human evolution. Technology is powerful because of its scale and also disempowering for the same reason. Scale is in the variables and online media, in the zest of empowering women, is deciding our fate. I get it when the housewife looks to YouTube to cook a meal. However, I also see the heartbreak when what should be freeing is actually being used to throttle progress. When a girl from a small sub-segment of global population like Rajasthan, while wanting to feel empowered realises that she's unable to measure up? Are we responsible for this? Are our “hashtags” and “likes” fuelling our continued repression?
As an ethnographer, I study media consumption to overcome barriers to participation in the online world, and as a gender trainer, I also create and use media content to overcome barriers in the real world. I find myself continually...