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Head Office Singapore: 31 Rochester Drive,Level 24,Singapore,138637
+65 6808 8760
India Office: 880,Adarsh Nagar,   Jogesheri West, Mumbai,400053
Why Ethnography is Still the Best Form of Research

Why Ethnography is Still the Best Form of Research

Let's be frank. Ethnography is regarded by many people as a costly, time-consuming method of study. Ethnography is rarely ever taken into account, whether its service, product, or experience creation. These naysayers are correct most of the time. You wouldn't want to participate in a long-term, expensive ethnographic analysis to settle on a name for the new service you are providing, after all.

But, if you wonder why clients who pretend to be loyal to your brand but choose to turn to other brands want the perspective of an ethnographic analysis, that's when they want it. And this is only one example of a lot. While ethnography is obviously not the ideal method of type research (as with any project, method must be adapted to need), it is still very much a contender for the title of the most informative methodology of market research.

Ethnographies are becoming more open and enticing to businesses today because of their smartphone counterparts. About why? Since it offers a simpler, cheaper way to get into the mind of the user.

But that's the catch here. While a large number of the problems associated with the original approach are eliminated by mobile approaches, this is achieved at the cost of the richest qualitative insight. But what does this mean for businesses and researchers alike? How is this form of study better than a focus group or IDI, particularly when attitudes and emotions need to be explored in detail?

1. Digital Engagement

There is no direct observer, moderator, or interviewer in mobile ethnography studies. Yeah, this means it's cheaper, but most importantly, the participants, regardless of their type, do not experience the pressure that they usually do while engaging in a research study. They are more likely to act spontaneously if participants do not feel pressured.

The risks of a poorly educated or clear researcher are almost entirely removed, which severely diminishes their probability of presenting biased responses and viewpoints to the study questions in accordance with the independence of the participants. This is how the very fine line between an actionable outcome and a poor business decision can be drawn.

2. Empowering Participants

Although researchers conducting focus groups and interviews all too frequently pepper participants with questions and prompts, tracking the nature of the discussions and leading them to the responses the study project needs, you let participants become co-researchers by using mobile ethnography.

You encourage them to get their own hands on the study. Participants are able to openly record their successes, to share their background, place, and views actively and consciously. Again, thus, it is another aspect that frees participants from the behavioural restrictions imposed by other research types.

3. Customisation

Although researchers conducting focus groups and interviews all too frequently pepper participants with questions and prompts, tracking the nature of the discussions and leading them to the responses the study project needs, you let participants become co-researchers by using mobile ethnography.

You encourage them to get their own hands on the study. Participants are able to openly record their successes, to share their background, place, and views actively and consciously. Again, thus, it is another aspect that frees participants from the behavioural restrictions imposed by other research types.

4. Hidden Motives

Ethnography is arguably the only form of research capable of penetrating deep into the minds and motivations of customers. It might also be the best way for researchers and organizations to consider whether the actions of individuals do not adhere to what they claim, and why. It's natural to believe we're stronger than we are, and to believe we're doing what we think we're doing. But it is also common to lie to ourselves about what we are doing, and it may not be sufficient to simply address questions about our behaviour and expectations to paint the full picture of our consumption habits.

This is where ethnography is most useful, helping you find out whether what people claim they are actually doing is what they are actually doing. Although mobile ethnography does not give you the same (sometimes overwhelming) amount of insight, when exploring participants' minds, it still remains much higher on the relevance ladder than other common research methods.

5. Response Times

Since it is carried out on a mobile phone, depending on what they communicated, you can prompt the participants at any time about those thoughts they shared, or they may share. This gives you the benefit of immediacy, since you have the ability to retrieve the data from the minds of the participants until it is lost to the memory fog. This, again, suggests less biased, more detailed data that could expose secret biases that are not available to any other form of study.