- How does it varies from traditional research?
Ethnographic research always takes place in the natural environment – at the informant’s house, sales outlet, work, at school, etc. This provides the informants with comfort and safety and gives us the ability to compare the declarations with reality – with natural behaviors, beyond verbal and mute facts.
- Why the client cannot take part in the research?
The client’s participation in the study disrupts the natural balance between the informant and the researcher – especially if it is an individual interview or single person observation. Ethnographic research enters private and intimate areas – the informants let us into their house – and that is why it is very important to give them a feeling of controling the situation. An additional person makes them feel uncomfortable as they are in the minority and subjectively lose control of the situation.
- Is it possible to use ethnography to study: concepts / advertising / new products / services?
Of course. We believe that ethnography is the best way to study these areas. With proven methods and techniques, we are able to answer all the questions that a client may have.
- Do you conduct focus research?
Yes, but they differ from traditional focus groups. They always take place in the environment that is natural for the informant (the home of one of the invited guests), and informants know one another, which makes them more likely telling the truth.
- Everybody lies from time to time. Do you lie as well?
Tylko w czasie prywatnym:) Only in our free time:) When we talk about ourselves - we not only tell the truth - but naked truth. We believe that pleasant surprise is better than a little disappointment.
But when it comes to research results, we are only the messengers. We rely on what we see, hear, observe, compare.
Because people may lie, not the evidence…
- Are these research representative?
Ethnographic research is of qualitative nature, so in this case we cannot talk about representativeness in the same terms as we do in quantitative research, which use statistical samples. At the same time, ethnographic research focuses on the analysis of thought patterns , and on cultural, social and behavioral patterns; we do not describe and analyze anecdotes, but rather repetitive patterns in the study group. In this sense ethnographic research is representative.
- What is a single research unit? One human being, one shop, one family?
A research unit is one study performed with a selected technique. Depending on the technique, each research unit may include a different number of people; in the case of Ethno Talk ®, it is one person, five people in the case of Natural Focus ®, and about 15-20 people during one-day observation at sales outlet.
- Why there is no scenario with questions?
Ethnographic research is similar to an ordinary conversation, where issues arise spontaneously and pass smoothly from one to the other. The interview structure is flexible, divided into stages, and evolutionary. It is flexible because the initial answers shape further questions. Division into stages refers to the process of collecting information and analyzing it so as to come as close as possible to a realistic model of the phenomenon. The evolutionary aspect means that themes may be the subject to adjustment during the research.
For this reason, the interview scenario is in the form of themes, and not pre-determined questions.
- How do we know that the researcher does not present his or her own opinion?
Each project involves several researchers, each of whom writes a separate report from the research. This gives us a chance to compare the results obtained by several people, and only repeating elements are taken into consideration. Additionally, the researchers always check all the obtained results at several levels, which precludes reliance solely on subjective opinions rather than facts.
- How does one know that the respondents do not lie?
During the research we always analyze several layers of meaning and acquire information from a variety of contexts, so as to exclude the possibility of lies from the informants. We rely not only on that what they say, but we compare their statements with their behavior, mute facts, and statements from their families and friends.
- Why is it better to study acquaitances than strangers during the focus group interview? Will they not be too similar?
The fact that informants know one another is deliberate and a necessary. The presence of acquaintances prevents the informants from attempts to lie or to create a false image of oneself, because of the fear that such behavior will be noticed and exposed.
- What is the advantage of the research being carried out at the informant’s home?
Conducting research at informants’ homes makes them feel safe and comfortable. A homelike atmosphere is conducive for relaxed and open conversation. This also allows us to confront the informants’ stories with the mute facts found at their homes.
- How many interviews can be carried out during one day’s observation at the sales outlet?
The number of interviews depends largely on the place of observation, its popularity and the number of visitors. Sometimes it can be as many as 20 interviews.
- Is Ethno Work simply a Mystery Shopper?
Ethno Work ® is a technique that examines not only employees, but also the customers, the company, its procedures, etc. In addition, this technique is overt and non-judgmental; it encourages employees to share their insights about the customers and company with researchers. The employees offer solutions that could make their work more effective; they talk about issues that bother them or things that pose an obstacle in the proper performance of their duties. Hence, Ethno Work ® is a technique that is more complex and more friendly to the employee than the Mystery Shopper.
- Won’t the employees be afraid to tell you the truth; won’t they think that this is a form of control?
The researchers come from an outside firm; the study is open and anonymous, and it is not intended to assess specific individuals, which makes the employees open up quickly to researchers. Indeed, they perceive the study as an opportunity to share their suggestions and comments.
- Is shop observation simply a Mystery Shopper?
In contrast to the EthnoWork ® and Mystery Shopper type of study, the observations focus on customers and their behavior, not on the workers (although this aspect is also taken into consideration). Researchers observe consumers’ behavior at the point of sale, their decision-making processes, and the motivations and barriers to purchasing particular products. The researchers also conduct interviews with clients.
- What do we benefit from research at the point of sale?
Such research allows to go beyond the memory ond observe informant’s spontaneous natural reactions and behaviours in the natural purchasing environment- meaning in a store where the informant has access to a variety of products, which can they touch and compare, and in this way show and tell the researcher exactly what they have in mind.
- Who agrees to take part in the research?
Usually “ordinary” people, whom one meets in the street every day, agree to be part of our study. Of course each of them must meet specific recruitment criteria.
- How does one know that “normal” people were studied, and not “pathological cases”?
All informants have to go through a three-phase recruitment, which is designed to exlude questionable participants.
- What makes your research better than others (Honestly, the more common question is: Why is your research more expensive?)
We see more and reach more deeply. We do not trust declarations and we rely on evidence. We provide results embedded in a broad context, which allows assessing their value and significance.
- Why do you not want to be called pollsters?
Because we are not pollsters. Our research is based on in-depth, long-lasting conversations, immersions in the informants’ environment, and learning about their lives, opinions, and feelings. This is clearly different from a survey.
- Why do you not carry out studies other than ethnographic research?
Because we believe that ethnography is the best possible research method. We also believe that to be really good at something, one must specialize in it and be fully committed to it.
- What is the end result of the research? What are its visible and measurable results?
Our clients receive a detailed research report in Word format and a summary of key results in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.
- Will we get video material?
Unedited raw video material from the research is available to our clients. Upon client’s request, we create themed film from the study.
- Why do your business cards have “holes”?
Come along to meet us if you want to find out. We will be more than happy to explain :-)