Ethnographic Research Template

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Ethnographic Research Interactive App

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Ethnographic Research Best Practices

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.

More about 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.

Praxie's Online Ethnographic Research Tools & Templates

Ethnographic Research is an information gathering method for obtaining data about people’s needs, desires and preferences. In business, this information is typically part of the Design Thinking process used when creating a new product or service. The goal of the ethnographic research process is to develop empathy in order to understand customer needs, which then guides the innovation process..  

    In order to successfully conduct Ethnographic Research, five steps should be taken 

  • Step 1: Identify Research Subjects. Based on the problem or opportunity focus, identify the people who can provide deeper insight into the issues at hand. Create a list and prioritize based on knowledge, direct experience with the issue, or other variables that allow you to gain focus for your research.  
  • Step 2: Uncover Needs. Create an interview guide to interview customers or other research subjects. Observe customers as they use current products and services. The end result of this step is to develop transcripts and diaries that can be distilled into key themes that reveal customer needs and desires.  
  • Step 3: Prioritize Unmet Needs. Create themes from your notes to determine which of the insights should be the primary focus when creating the new product or service. This involves determining the needs of each customer or market segment, the degree that each segment has unmet needs and deciding which or how many needs should be incorporated to an initial solution.  
  • Step 4: Brainstorm Ideas. Determine ways to incorporate customers’ needs into creating a new product or service or improving something that already exists. The goal of this process should be to generate a number of a feasible solutions that incorporate what was learned from the interview and observation process in a way that brings value to the organization.  
  • Step 5: Prioritize Ideas. This step involves deciding which ideas will meet the biggest pain points for the largest market. Choose ideas that are feasible yet address needs that are currently unmet by existing solutions. 

Ethnographic Research tools and templates frequently consist of observation protocols, interview protocols, fieldwork journals, and spreadsheets for analyzing and coding the raw data. Get started with our Ethnographic Research template. 

How to use it:

  1. Define your ethnographic research plan 
  2. Enter data based on what you learned from your research.  
  3. Generate ideas based on your insights. 
  4. Create an action plan to conduct your ethnographic research process. Then, create additional actions focused on taking the data from your template and implementing the ideas from your brainstorm. 

Unlike most traditional Ethnographic Research techniques, Praxie’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.