Our behind-the-scenes client asked us to research how family and shared households manage regular grocery shopping. The client was interested in how different multi-person households (families vs. student flats) manage the list-making and decision-making processes. During this project we conducted in-house observations and ethnographic interviews. Additionally, we used participant diaries to get a clearer understanding of the households. Some of our main take-aways were that lists are very personal and take various forms, families with kids tend to be more organized than households without children,  preparing full meals requires shopping lists,  there is still a barrier between online and offline tools for list-making, the perception of the term “list” varies and often lists are used as a way to process and organize one’s thoughts.

This project was about conducting field work and managing the research process as well as the client communication. Going into this project, we knew that the challenge was to figure out how to involve the behind-the-scenes client throughout the process and how to communicate what we bring to the table as Design Ethnographers.

During this project, my focus was on fully immersing myself into the field as well as understanding the research methods available. In this project we were introduced to qualitative research methods and learned about managing the analysis and synthesis phase. The biggest takeaway for me was to stay patient and not become driven by the “need for insight” but rather to keep our eyes on the road (and wide-open) throughout the journey. Anothr main take-away for me was negotiating and securing the cooperation of research participants and learning how to prepare the appropriate ethics and risk assessment documentation.

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods // Ethnographic Research Methods (including data gathering and synthesis and analysis of data) // Research in a Team Context // Writing and Reflection Strategies

MSc Design Ethnography 2011 – 2012 (Experience Research 1 Module)
November 2011

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