What is Design Ethnography? How can I use it? Is it actionable?
We often hear this question, that’s why we are creating a discussion space to keep you connected with our thinking. Don’t sit back and relax though, we want you to join in!
Design and innovation across a diverse range of design industries (from service to public sector to high-tech) rely increasingly on the use of largely qualitative ‘rich’ engagements with users/consumers. Field methods for conducting such research need to be adapted to the specific context of the design industries, not just imported wholesale from the Social Sciences. In particular they need to be oriented towards uncovering ‘actionable’ data and insights.
MSc Design Ethnography
In the MSc Design ethnography we don’t just study ‘context out there’, we study context out there in a context (that of our employers). There are specific needs and issues that occur when conducting user research in such an environment. First and foremost – our core data gathering and sense-making processes must be robust, transparent and rigorous. Next, our work must be ‘fit for purpose’. This often involves considerable negotiation with clients who may, or may not, be aware of design ethnographic methods and issues. The course aims to engage with the key areas of fieldwork practice (defining what the research is ‘for’, gaining access to users/the field, data gathering and initial data analysis), and will encouraging the development of critical awareness of current problems and/or controversies in design ethnography and user research.
It is here that we try to start conversations with the wider community based on what we see happening both in the studio and outwith In addition to gaining experience in key areas of fieldwork practice, our aim is to provide a space for people, to explore the methodology, ethics, process and issues concerning the practice of conducting user research in todays environments.
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