3 April 2013

EthnographyMatters on combining qualitative and quantitative data (edition by Nicolas Nova)

Be the first to share

The April 2013 EthnographyMatters edition is edited by Nicolas Nova, consultant and researcher at the Near Future Laboratory, and is about combining qualitative and quantitative data.

In his introduction, Nova writes:

“While ethnography generally draws on qualitative data, it does not not mean that quantitative approaches shouldn’t be employed in the research process. Combining the two leads to a “mixed-method approach” that can take various forms: data collection and analysis can be either separated or addressed together, and each of them can be used in service of the other. Of course, this isn’t new in academic circles and corporate ethnography but there seems to be a renewed interest lately in this topic.

One of the driving forces of this renewed interest is the huge amount of information produced by people, things, space and their interactions — what some have called “Big Data“. The large data sets created by people’s activity on digital devices has indeed led to a surge of “traces” from smartphone apps, computer programs and environmental sensors. Such information is currently expected to transform how we study human behavior and culture, with, as usual, utopian hopes, dystopian fears and *critical sighs* from pundits.

Although most of the work of Big Data has focused on quantitative analysis, it is interesting to observe how ethnographers relate to it. Some offer a critical perspective, but others see it as an opportunity to create innovative methodologies to benefit from this situation.

Aside from Rebekah Rousi’s post (featured here yesterday), EthnographyMatters will feature various case studies and perspectives on the implications of mixed-methods approaches, including Fabien Girardin (on how he used sensor data to yield field observations in a study for Le Louvre in Paris), Alex Leavitt (discussing his research on Tumbler using a computational ethnography perspective), Tricia Wang (sharing her thoughts about the opposite of Big Data, in what she calls “thick data”) and David Ayman Shamma from Yahoo! Research (describing his personal perspective on the topic).

Be the first to share
10 November 2015
For years, Apple followed user-centered design principles. Then something went wrong.
Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini are taking their gloves off and accuse Apple of abandoning the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, proper mapping, appropriate use of constraints, and, of course, the power to …
3 November 2015
Another book entitled “The Quantified Self”
The Quantified Self By Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus MIT Press, 264 pp. April 2016 Oops, that is confusing: two books by sociologists on the quantified self movement, both entitled "The Quantified Self" and both appearing in April 2016. …
30 October 2015
[Book] Digital Ethnography
Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice By Sarah Pink, Heather Horst, John Postill, Larissa Hjorth, Tania Lewis and Jo Tacchi (RMIT University) SAGE Publications October 2015, 216 pages Abstract This sharp, innovative book champions the rising significance of ethnographic research on …
29 October 2015
An ethnography of tax-avoidance experts
Sociologist Brooke Harrington realized that if she were ever going to understand global inequality she would have to become one of the people who helps create it. So she trained to become a wealth manager …
23 October 2015
White paper: Design for aging
Designing the Second Half of Life: Innovation for Aging A visual white paper by Karten Design September 2015 The next 30 years will be a defining era for the American healthcare system, as the number of adults aged …
22 October 2015
[Book] Watching Closely by Christena Nippert-Eng
Watching Closely: A Guide to Ethnographic Observation by Christena Nippert-Eng Oxford University Press, October 2015 296 pages Ethnographers rely on three related activities to conduct research in the field: observation, conversation, and participation. Observing others in their environments and …
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully
Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015
11 October 2015
[Report] Applying design approaches to policy making
Applying Design Approaches to Policy Making: Discovering Policy Lab Written by Lucy Kimbell Illustrated by Holly Macdonald Published by the University of Brighton September 2015 This report reviews what design-based approaches bring to policy making. It results from an academic …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
See all articles