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Ethnography

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    Chapter5: Ethnography (textbook, pdf, 193KB)

  • 5.1 What is ethnography
    • 5.1.1 Definition of ethnography
    • 5.1.2 Ethnography requirements in informatics
  • 5.2 Process of ethnography
    • 5.2.1 Setting of research questions / Participation in field
    • 5.2.2 Method of collecting data
    • 5.2.3 Data analysis method
    • 5.2.4 Summarizing result
  • 5.3 Case of ethnography

What is the relevance of Ethnography in Field Informatics

Artifacts developed through rapid technological innovations (such as information equipment and so on) have been introduced in various fields, and induced those involved in the fields to change their activities. People are acting while using artifacts in various fields, and being influenced by them. In addition, ethnography is a useful method to describe and model circumstances in which people's acts and behavior in the field unfold in a complex relation to artifacts.

Overview

Ethnography is a method for describing and modeling the phenomena that have occurred in the field. Ethnography has its origins of the research of uncivilized tribes in cultural anthropology. Later, it was used as a method of clarifying the lifestyle of deviant groups and closed populations in sociology. In recent years, it is used as a method of interpreting the microscopic everyday life and the human interaction in the fields of pedagogy and psychology. Describing involves collecting data by participant observation to field and drawing the structure of the phenomenon and the process through the analysis as a story. Modeling involves determining the iterative pattern of the same which are discovered and accumulated, like that on a conceptual level and systematically associating them. In informatics, ethnography is used as a tool for design. That is, the result of describing and modeling is requested to give suggestions for the design of artifacts and the field.

Case Study

In this slides, two cases of ethnography are introduced.
  1. Case of Ethnography for Innovation
  2. In the participatory production project in collaboration with Kyoto University and Industrial accumulation of small factories, this chapter introduces the case which uses ethnography for users to discover their potential needs for a product. In particular, this introduces processes which the students of Kyoto University who participate in this project as the users observe daily situation in which product they making is used and record to classify the awareness or the need, walking through the campus.

  3. Case of Ethonography in the Distance Collaborative Course Using ICT
  4. In this case, we take up the distance collaborative course between Japan and America using information technology, and explain the process of ethnography. Recently, with the development of the Internet, university classes have featured the practice of remote cooperative learning connecting Japanese and overseas universities. Here, connecting universities A and B in Japan and America respectively via the Internet, we establish a learning environment where students of both countries discuss on a bulletin board system, and focus on the English learning of Japanese university student generated there. This case shows describing and modeling the process of English learning of Japanese university students by ethnography and introduces consequently obtaining suggestions concerning the design of the learning environment.