What’s an ethnographer doing working for a software company anyway?

I wrote a short memo to the Ushahidi team about what exactly an ethnographer does and how ethnography as a discipline could be useful to Ushahidi (and Crowdmap in particular). I’m thinking of actually writing more about this and interviewing ethnographers working at technology companies to shed some light on this growing field.

What is ethnography?

Ethnography is a research method, with roots in anthropology, that aims to gain a rich perspective of user communities. Ethnographic research projects require the researcher to be deeply immersed in a specific research context (also called “participant observation”) and to develop an understanding that would not be achievable with other, more limited research approaches (Lazar, Feng, Hochheiser: 2010). Ethnography emerged from the practice of early anthropologists who studied “new” cultures Continue reading “What’s an ethnographer doing working for a software company anyway?”