methods

Ethnography in Agile Contexts: Offering Speed or Spark?

EPIC2017 Platinum Panel Moderated by: MARTHA COTTON (Fjord) Panelists: JULIA KATHERINE HAINES (Google), BRIAN KING (HEC Montréal), MARIE-AGNES PARMENTIER (HEC Montréal), CARRIE YURY (Beyond Curious) & MICHAEL WINNICK (dscout) Overview This panel explores perspectives that emerge from the intersection of ethnography and agile methodologies—from real constraints to exciting possibilities. We seek to better understand what “agile” is and where it comes from and then explore tools and approaches that allow us to be relevant in agile contexts. Is being “agile” just about efficiency and speeding up our processes? Or is it about ongoing efforts that offer the right spark at the right time? Or maybe something in between? In this panel we explore this timely topic that currently—or soon will—affect most members of the EPIC community....

Tutorial: Ethnographic Research Design

SAM LADNER Amazon Ethnography is closely associated with the core qualitative methods of interviewing and observation. But ethnographers in business often work with a broad range of other methods, from video and diary studies to surveys and sensors. This tutorial examines the relationship between research and design, producing data and producing things. It considers the research process as a design process and a wide range of methods across the research and design spectrum. Participants engaged in active exercises to examine creativity, complexity, compromise and choice in research design, and consider the role of stakeholder thinking. Finally, the tutorial encouraged researchers to conceptualize their work as a long-term endeavor beyond the boundaries of a discrete project, with tips for organizing data and files as well as creating quality criteria. Participants were asked to prepare for this workshop by exploring and perhaps journaling about past projects that did not provide clients with their desired outcomes. They considered...

Keynote Address: Culinary Habits and Feral Cakes

DANA SHERWOOD Dana Sherwood is a New York–based artist whose work lies on the border of the domestic and the wild. Exposing the fact that nature exists everywhere, and highlighting multispecies interaction while forging new pathways of communication, Sherwood’s work underscores the blurring of boundaries between human and animal and the spaces we collectively inhabit. With Lévi-Strauss as a muse, Sherwood’s interest in domestication and the design of nature through human interference and consumption is brought to the fore. The theme of “the manipulation of nature” is intrinsic to her work and food is a central metaphor as she examines and tames through elaborate creations of flour, sugar and eggs—sculptural displays modeled on 19th century though 1960s traditions, from Vanitas painting to Betty Crocker. The complexity of interpretation lies in the use of non-traditional materials and unconventional methodologies, which usually involve baroque confectionery and interventions by animals. Learn more about...

Tutorial: Analysis in Human-Centered Design

CAREY PALMER Northern Trust JOELLEN KAMES Northern Trust Overview This tutorial will give you a framework for understanding the important role of analysis in human-centered design and teach 4 key methods for practicing analysis. The framework proposes a model for selecting and utilizing specific methods that are either top-down or bottom-up, and are practiced in groups or by individuals—but it also stresses importance of creativity, as no linear process will always guarantee meaningful insights. The framework is also a mechanism to help stakeholders understand the outputs from analysis, and enable them to evaluate findings as part of the big picture, rather than just ingesting “the answer.” The ambiguity that accompanies analysis and synthesis can be concerning to extended team members and stakeholders. Engaged stakeholders often want early insights from the field, even hours after an interview concludes. The framework offered in this tutorial will: 1) help stakeholders understand the iterative nature of...

Tutorial: Fundamentals of Observational Research

MIKE YOUNGBLOOD Youngblood Group Overview This tutorial offers a solid foundation in the art of observation as a field research method for human-centered design and innovation. An expanded, hands-on version of Mike Youngblood's popular EPIC Talk on observational research, it will be valuable for those who are new to this method as well as more seasoned observers seeking an effective toolkit they can use to train others. The tutorial will cover: four core techniques for conducting observational research in a wide range of settings basic observational data collection effective note taking selecting the right tools and methods ethical considerations related to observing others Discussion will draw on real-life examples from diverse settings, including Mike's own research in homes, bars, restaurants, car dealerships, urban neighborhoods, medical environments, and more. After instruction and group discussion, tutorial participants will have the chance to practice using specific techniques during video...

Tutorial: Getting Started with Sensor Data

Tutorial Instructor: DAWN NAFUS, Intel Overview Activity trackers, instrumented environments, and other kinds of electronic monitors offer new possibilities and new challenges for ethnographic research. They provide a trace of what goes on when the researcher isn't there, and can help research participants reflect on their lives in a new way. In the right contexts, sensor data can help bridge the gap between ethnographic and data science approaches. At the same time, sensors can be challenging to set up, and occasionally mislead if the context is poorly understood. This tutorial will help you determine when and how to use sensor data in an ethnographic research practice. We'll talk about some of the practical pitfalls to watch out for, when you do and don't need a data scientist, and some of the trickier aspects of inviting research participants to reflect on the data collected about them. Participants will learn how to: Assess sensors for maximum research value Ensure the research setup is feasible Wrangle data...

Tutorial: Agile for Researchers

CARRIE YURY BeyondCurious CHRIS YOUNG BeyondCurious Overview Agile is taking the design world by storm, and requiring teams—including researchers—to rethink how we communicate, plan, and act. But is it possible, or even desirable, to apply agile methodologies to ethnographic research? We respond with a resounding yes! While agile requires some new skills, and a different mindset, in our experience by adapting to agile researchers can have an even greater impact on teams. In this tutorial you will: Plan your own agile research sprints •     Resourcing, sprint planning, meeting cadence, reviews/retrospectives Become familiar with the terminology used by agile teams •     Epics, user stories, stand-ups Get an overview of common tools used to facilitate agile research, for example •     Trello, Jira, Trint, ScheduleOnce, InVision Learn about the frameworks BeyondCurious uses to guide Agile research •     MVF, Experience Principles, XIS Develop...

Book Review: The Field Study Handbook, by Jan Chipchase

by TOM HOY, Stripe Partners Jan Chipchase has done something few of us would dare: write down his trade secrets and give them away in a book. In The Field Study Handbook he shares hard-earned lessons from running ethnographic research projects across the world. At face value the Handbook delivers on its promise. It lays out, often in painstaking detail, the nuances of how to stage a successful project. Everything from costing a proposal and folder-naming strategies, through to how to seat a team during a fieldwork interview and make an impact with your deliverables. But importantly, it also communicates a human, sometimes esoteric perspective about why we choose to do this kind of work in the first place. And it is this that elevates the book from a useful how-to guide to something more vital and existential. Sharp insights can be found on most pages, particularly in relation to the author’s true passion – running projects ‘off the grid’ in developing countries. The text is at its best when Chipchase relates how...

Getting Started with Sensor Data

An EPIC Talk with DAWN NAFUS & RAJIV MEHTA *This event is over. Should we offer it again? Let us know: talks@epicpeople.org May 2, 2017, 11:00am–12:30pm PDT Free online event, pre-registration & EPIC Membership required, max 50 participants More EPIC Talks Overview Activity trackers, instrumented environments, and other kinds of monitors offer new possibilities and new challenges for ethnographic research. They…

The Automation of Qualitative Methods

Bauhaus by cdschock via flickr
by SALLY A. APPLIN, PhD Introduction Anthropology and its methodologies cannot easily be automated. However, both design and engineering based organizations are attempting it. I argue that this is based in part on historic legacy systems, a misunderstanding of the ethnographic toolkit, and an over-reliance on the principles of Bauhaus, Six Sigma, and Science Fiction. Quantifiying and Automating the Qualitative After interviewing at several other engineering focused companies in their User Experience groups, I recently interviewed for a job at a renowned design firm. The design firm advertised for a "Director of Insights and Strategy," a job I’m well suited for. However, after I travelled to their offices, gave a presentation and spoke with them, it became apparent that what they really wanted was probably just a Research Manager (e.g. someone to provide a checklist of conventional methods that can be replicated, and someone who would guide others to use them as well). Prior to my arrival, the company had said that they wanted...

Biomimicry: Learnings from ‘The Field’

ADINA DAAR Independent Researcher Download PDF PechaKucha—The natural world is full of researchers – from the smallest of butterflies scoping out the perfect leaf to land on to the largest of elephants retracing the steps of their ancestors to find food and water. Every creature on earth is in a perpetual state of learning to adapt to the many changes of this world. This presentation will take viewers on one researcher’s personal journey into the emerging discipline of ‘biomimicry’ – through examples of how research is conducted in nature, and what we as researchers can learn from these insights to inspire our own. Adina Daar is an independent researcher, ethnographer, and all-around ‘nature-nerd’. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Biomimicry from Arizona State University, and in 2016, was selected to participate in the Biomimicry Professional Program, a 2-year, global, multi-disciplinary leadership immersion course focused on facilitating the practice of learning from nature. 2016 Ethnographic...

Tutorial: Structuring Analysis for Innovation

Tutorial Instructors: MARCELO FAGUNDES INSITUM MURILO GOMES INSITUMDownload PDF TUTORIAL DESCRIPTION It’s no news that human-centered innovation has become a common internalized practice of many organizations around the world. In the last decade, companies have begun developing their own innovation departments in addition to building teams to tackle new, complex business challenges—often employing the Double Diamond design process in these endeavors.1 The Double Diamond design process was mapped by the UK Design Council in 2007 through an in-depth study of the design processes used in eleven global brands. Divided into four distinct phases, it maps the divergent and convergent stages of the design process to illustrate the different modes of design thinking.2 The Discover phase serves to gather inspiration to develop new solutions through ethnography and several research methods. Throughout INSITUM’s many years of helping hundreds of companies develop their human-centered innovation culture, we have come to the realization...

Paco – Applying Computational Methods to Scale Qualitative Methods

BOB EVANS Google, Inc. For several years we have been building and using an open mobile research platform, called Paco, that enables the scaling of qualitative research through quantitative, computational techniques. The platform provides a mechanism to design and deliver remote research instruments to mobile devices in the field and it provides mechanisms to abstract and develop new research tools....

Building a Useful Research Tool: An Origin Story of AEIOU

by RICK E. ROBINSON, SapientNitro It is awfully nice not to have to invent a basic tool over and over again. For ethnographers, coding and categorization is work that has to happen whether you are studying housework or neurosurgery, with novices or experts, in an exotic location or in suburban Ohio (no offense to my friends and family in Ohio). A coding structure is one of the most basic and useful tools you ought to have. Devising one that works with your data can be a great deal of work—finding and maintaining the right level of abstraction, setting parameters that make meaningful, consistent distinctions, all while balancing specificity for the frame of the immediate data and the purpose of the inquiry (is it deep cleaning or spot? open surgery or laparoscopic?) against the ability to generalize categories across investigations, to test or refute interpretations in independent engagements. All the sort of work that supports the value of any repeatable methodology. Not something one minds doing in the course of an investigation...