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Design ethnography is ethnographic qualitative research set within a design context. It delivers results that inform and inspire design processes, for instance service design processes. It offers reference material about people’s everyday life; their practices, motivations, dreams, and concerns.

  • This is characterized by descriptive accounts of people in their natural settings, typically using qualitative methods.
  • It is focused on a highly contextual, comprehensive, and empathic understanding of users, their lives, their language, their artifacts, and their behaviors.
  • In contrast to anthropologist ethnographers who immerse themselves in a culture over extensive periods of time, designers aim to sample behaviors.
  • Common methods include experience sampling, diary and photo studies, cultural probes, contextual inquiry, conversational interviews, touchstone tours, and observations.
  • Analysis is based on deciphering patterns and themes articulated in a set of design implications in preparation for generative research.

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