Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Reflexive Interviewing for Consumer Insights



In-depth interviews are an essential resource for consumer insights and can inform product and service design, brand management, human-technology interface, customer service, amongst others. Nothing gets to the heart of people and uncovers their experiences, anxieties, feelings, and desires than a well-conducted interview. A good interview also could be used as a diagnostic tool to investigate and remedy visible or hidden problems in your product or service. Effective interviewing requires preparation, cultural thinking, and reflexivity. This talk will walk you through the design and execution of interview-based projects and will help you ask the right questions and ask them the right way. I will explain how you can translate client problems into culturally-oriented research questions and how you can develop interview protocols to seek answers to these questions effectively. I will also show how interviews can complement and contextualize other data sources.


ZEYNEP ARSEL is Concordia University Research Chair in Consumption and Markets at John Molson School of Business. She is a recipient of Petro Canada Young Innovator Award and the Sidney J. Levy Award. Her research focuses on consumption with a sociological, anthropological, and historical focus. She has published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Association for Consumer Research. She is Associate Editor for Journal of Consumer Research and Consumption Markets and Culture, and is the co-editor of Taste, Consumption, and Markets (Routledge). Arsel’s work has been funded by numerous grants and has been featured in mass media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Harper’s Magazine, Globe and Mail, WIRED, Psychology Today, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Le Devoir, L’Actualite, La Presse, and numerous blogs.

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