Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Intuition: Thinking through Loopholes


Cite this article:

2021 EPIC Proceedings pp 331–332, ISSN 1559-8918,

PechaKucha Presentation

Intuition, contrary to common sense, is not a natural gift. Intuition is born out of experience and it can be a valuable tool for researchers. But what has intuition to do with anticipation? To anticipate we usually rely on understanding current behavioral patterns and extrapolating them. Intuition is great at recognizing patterns and by trusting it more we can become even better researchers.

As with any other skill in order to follow our intuition, we need to practice, to be exposed to a lot of fieldwork, to listen to a lot of people, so that we can not only notice what stands out of the common but give the right value to it. When we learn to use our intuition as a research tool, anticipating becomes natural.

I will bring examples from a research project that aimed to explore the relationship of young women in Brazil with pregnancy and the most valuable insight in this project came from a girl who did not get pregnant.

I will also draw from the world of chess—a game where anticipation is the key to define the next move.

Intuition can illuminate the atypical in order to understand the typical. And that’s a powerful tool for any research.

I am a researcher who has been working in Brazil with behavior analysis for more than ten years. I have used a variety of qualitative research methodologies and techniques, such as ethnographic research – digital and in-person, observational research, user experience research, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and usability tests. For the past five years, I have been working with foreign companies, among several tech companies – such as Uber, Facebook, Instagram, and Google. I have had the chance to understand, assess and share insights from the field with each team involved. I have a BA in Social Sciences from the University of São Paulo – with a specialization in Anthropology, and I am doing an MSc in Digital Anthropology at UCL. In addition, I have taken different courses in design and planning communication.