Ethnographic Interview

Ethnographic Interviewing aims to understand what people’s activities and experiences are by gaining knowledge through stories told in the persons own words, as well as giving their own perspective in the location where the context or activity occurs. The interview is in a open-ended and explanatory style, allowing the conversation to be more directed, and enabling the person to demonstrate experiences and activities to the interviewer. As the interview is undertaken in the contextual environment, people’s memory is often aided by the familiar setting helping them to be more comfortable and talkative (Kumar, 2013).

Contributor: Jessica Mew, 2013
MOBILITY RESEARCH

A Japanese consulting firm used the ethnographic interviewing method to understand how people in India choose, use and value their automobiles. The design team visited the homes of participants to conduct the interviews allowing the conversation to be flexible, and consisting of a few topics and questions to encourage engaging conversation. Some of the participants even took the interviewers in their cars to give them a intimate understanding of their automobile. From the observations captured through these experiences, the design team was able to they were able to provide supported final recommendations (Kumar, 2013).

Contributor: Jessica Mew, 2013
DESIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

A Swedish industrial equipment company used the ethnographic interview method while looking at Design for Environment (DfE), so they could begin to explore and analyse how new methods and tools would work in the area. The interview method was chosen as the company had three different departments that develop different types of products over two locations. The semi-structured questions focused on the designers experience of methods and tools currently utilised in DfE providing a bank of qualitative research. As only 12 people from each department were interviewed and the questions were on current methods employed not future possibilities, general conclusions were hard to draw (Lindahl, 2006).

Contributor: Jessica Mew, 2013