Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Tutorial: Data and Ethnography for Better AI Product Development



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 the participants.


As a Principal Creative Director at Microsoft, Ovetta Sampson leads a human-centered design team of designers, researchers and engineers to help find the human truth behind every industry challenge to unlock the best in people and the places where they work. An IDEO alumna, Ovetta’s sweet spot is the intersection of humanity, business and technology. She specializes in envisioning human-centered experiences at scale for future technologies. Combining her M.S. in Computer Science (HCI) with her BA in Communications, Ovetta spends most of her time helping people visualize humanity’s future and how to ethically and with compassion serve people through digital and intelligent products. When not working or teaching, Ovetta is swimming, biking and running, in exotic locales, and occasionally, doing these races called Ironmans.

Video Icon

To watch the video presentation,

Learn about membership