Ethnography is the branch of Anthropology that deals with understanding how people live their lives, digging deeper into the causalities of a particular situation approaching it from a holistic point of view. This sort of investigation usually takes place in the user ecosystem, where one is actually living and using the product. The line of investigation is usually non-directional owing to its holistic approach and inherent abilities to cover every aspect of ones’ life and decision making process.
Primary goal of doing ethnography is to observe people’s behaviour in a broader perspective and on their own terms, not clients. The methodology used is primarily observational in nature – Participant Observation & Non-Participant Observation. While observational methodology involved here might sound inefficient, it enlightens & empowers our clients highly in terms of how a product is being used & perceived by the consumers in its reality. The use case, many a times, is the counter form of product offering, & ethnography helps realize the use case of a product in every possible manner.
Ethnographic research methodologies are highly customizable depending on one’s requirements. This is one of the biggest advantages of this method.
When to Go for Ethnography?
Ethnographic research can provide extremely rich insight into ‘real life’ behaviour, and can be used to identify new or currently unmet user needs. This approach is most valuable at the beginning of a project when there is a need to understand real end user needs, or to understand the constraints of using a new product or service by a particular audience.
Why do Ethnography?
Ethnography is not only central to gaining an understanding of consumers, but business itself. It helps project consumer futures with accuracy based on their past & present behaviours & product usage. Because this type of research is explorative in nature, it gives way to many innovative ideas in terms of product development & marketing communication.
Ethnographic methods are more consumer immersive & hence are able to identify consumer belief systems in various aspects of their daily lives. Knowingly or Unknowingly consumers are making choices in their daily lives on a daily basis which forms a basic pattern when it comes to purchasing a product/service. It is the job of the ethnographers to identify and decode these hidden patterns using a limited sample size.