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Ethnoography FAQs
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ETHNOGRAPHY

1. Why ethnography?
Contemporary marketing depends upon understanding the consumer in as deep and nuanced a manner as possible. Quantitative data and even laboratory-based research such as focus groups removes us from the context in which products are purchased and used. Ethnography allows a fuller understanding of consumers in their actual home, retail and work environments.

2. How many sites?
Two rules govern the number of sites to study. The first is comprehensiveness are all of the variations of a particular behavior or practice potentially observable? The second is comparability, are there enough cases to draw meaningful comparisons between observed sites? Most studies should cover a total of at least thirty to forty sites in order to maintain comprehensiveness and comparability. If your customer base is national, we recommend organizing observational visits in several regional markets.

3. How do you get permission to enter people's homes and offices?
QualiData's ethnographic studies rely upon the active participation of members of your target market. We have successfully recruited people from all areas of the U.S. and around the world, of all ages and backgrounds including teenagers, elders, engineers, medical patients - as well as mainstream consumers. We achieve a high level of cooperation by informing participants about the study's objectives and taking special steps during recruitment to reinforce participants' commitment to the study.

4. How is the naturalness of the consumer context preserved?
Our studies deliver rich information because we examine peoples' activities in their everyday settings. All of QualiData's studies are conducted by credentialed, senior researchers experienced in gaining rapport and trust. Our site protocols help ensure that we do not intrude on participants' natural and normal behaviors.

5. How do you identify new product opportunities using ethnographic methods?
See the chapter excerpt from Ethnography for Marketers: A Guide to Consumer Immersion


 

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