rapid ethnography

Co-creating Your Insight: A Case from Rural Ghana

As Africa becomes the next frontier for consumer innovations, researchers and designers will be faces with a challenge: how can one get deep and meaningful insights on ever-accelerated project timetables? The following case study offers one such possibility. Drawing on work in rural Ghana, I describe my team used co-creation as a means to generate…

The Pop-up Ethnographer: Roles of the Researcher in Temporary Spaces

DEBORAH MAXWELL, MEL WOODS and SUZANNE PRIOR As our lived reality becomes ever more mobile and networked, society and business has adopted cultures and practices to embrace the creation of temporary interstitial ‘pop-up’ environments. These spaces, which can take the form of work environments (e.g. the UK Innovation Charity Nesta’s ‘Productive Coffee Breaks’), training (e.g. workshops), knowledge exchange (e.g. sandpits, culture hacks), and social environments (e.g. festivals), require us to examine the role of the temporal ethnographer. Our paper explores the changing and challenging roles that researchers must adopt and move between (from organizer, facilitator, participant, observer, and analyst) by examining four empirical case studies in a range of research contexts. Furthermore, we consider how short-term studies in such temporary, ‘pop-up’ environments can contribute to and be enriched by ethnographic practices....

Small Packages for Big (Qualitative) Data

KIM ERWIN and THEODORE POLLARI Smart devices and online research platforms are changing the landscape of qualitative data collection and analysis. While data collection mechanisms have flourished, analytic tools to work with that data have not meaningfully evolved. Changes in professional practice and advances in technology are creating new opportunities—and new pressure —to develop software tools that are focused, simple to use, fit flexibly with a variety of analytic processes, adapt to different data sets and do not lock data into proprietary formats or researchers into predefined analytic processes. We call such tools Small Packages for Big (Qualitative) Data. This paper defines the concept and introduces three such early stage tools—Voyant, Mandala Browser and Nineteen, and links qualitative research to another field experiencing similar changes and tool development, the Digital Humanities. Lastly, we present a case study to demonstrate how Small Packages can focus investigations, build early-stage familiarity with data,...

Living Avatars Network: Fusing Traditional and Innovative Ethnographic Methods through a Real-time Mobile Video Service

DENISA KERA and CONNOR GRAHAM This paper presents a study of new technologies potentially enabling access to a sensory feast of places by ‘wired up’ flanêurs, real-time as well as remote ‘native’ description and interactions and situated oral histories excavated through ‘being in a place’. We describe an inter-disciplinary research project examining the cultural heritage of Singapore and the use of geo-location technologies incorporating social networking platforms as a medium for interactive heritage walks. The goal of the project is to engage both locals and non-locals in experiencing Singapore from a first person perspective, giving them a wider understanding of the ethnic and cultural diversity. The Living Avatar Network (LAN) supports sharing experiences and realities in real time through making it possible to ‘walk in someone’s shoes’ through a living avatar, re-experiencing someone’s memories of a certain place. Here we describe the approaches deployed in evolving a prototypical service - ‘traditional’...