Ethnographic Research, a qualitative research method, is the practice of discovering and describing the culture of a group through observation, interviewing, and making inferences based on what the ethnographer perceives. Elements of Ethnographic Research design are frequently used in organizations for understanding customer behavior and assessing organizational effectiveness and culture.
What is Ethnographic Research, and what are best practices, tools and templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Ethnographic Research
Description of Ethnographic Research
Conducting Ethnographic Research is an inductive approach for understanding the social behaviors and culture of a group. Fieldwork, or conducting observations in the group’s natural environment, gives the ethnographer a direct lens on how group members interact. Observations, as well as one-on-one interviews, form the basis of the ethnographic record the researcher writes that consists of his or her observations, notes, and reflections. These records are later analyzed for themes that describe the key attributes of the group’s culture.
In more practical terms, organizations rely on qualitative data collected via interviews, focus groups, and observations for a wide range of purposes. Observing and talking to customers can reveal new potential business opportunities, gaps in performance, or other ideas for improving product and service offerings. Gathering employees’ perspectives through organizational reviews can highlight where there are internal challenges that need to be addressed. As another example, employees are frequently asked to provide input as part of a leader’s 360 assessment, which can be used for development planning. In general, giving your customers and employees a voice can make them feel engaged, empowered, and valued, and just as importantly, can shed light on breakthrough business opportunities, operational and strategic solutions that grow the bottom line.
Tools & Templates
Ethnographic Research tools and templates frequently consist of observation protocols, interview protocols, fieldwork journals, and spreadsheets for analyzing and coding the raw data.
upBOARD's Online Ethnographic Research Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Ethnographic Research techniques, upBOARD’s online Ethnographic Research collaboration tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other marketing best practice tools and templates including: Brand Identity Prism, Brand Pyramid, Closed Loop Customer Feedback, Content Marketing, Customer Journey Mapping, Environmental Scanning, Ethnographic Research, Four Ps, Market Sizing, Net Promoter Score, Personas, Positioning, Segmentation, Trend Mapping, Value Propositions