“Ethnography is the study of culture.

(Travis and Hodgson, 2018)

It can be defined as a research framework which aims to perceive people’s everyday life as a social phenomenon. To apply ethnography, researchers should immerse themselves in the circumstance of target participants to understand the goals, culture, challenges, motivations, and themes that emerge. Applied Ethnography is mainly based on qualitative research methods:

  • Field notes
  • Interviews
  • Observations

The step of Ethnography Research

applied ethnography

Adopt from https://contextualresearch.wordpress.com/week-02/class-03/

characteristics of ethnography

  • Research takes place in the participants’ context.
  • Participant sample sizes are small.
  • Researchers aim to understand the big picture: participants’ needs, language, concepts and beliefs.
  • Artefacts are analyzed to understand how people live their lives and what they value.
  • Data is ‘thick’, comprising written notes, photographs, audio and video recordings.d

The significance of applied ethnography

It gives researchers a special and in-depth understanding of how social life develops every day, how people understand the decisions they make, what they think of their behavior, and the complex structures that shape the details of daily life. 

How to apply ethnography in service case (Udemy)

As for E-learning system (Udemy), applied ethnography can be used to understand the ways and preferences of people from different cultural backgrounds learning online courses. individuals of different cultures have different ways of learning, while it is critical to meet the needs of different cultures as an international education platform (More than just different subtitles).

Ethical observations can be applied to investigate and obtain data. For example, one way to spot customers’ unmet needs is to “follow them home” , which refers to observe them when they interact with the product. Pay attention to how people of different cultural backgrounds conduct online learning, in order to design diversified learning format for them and give differentiated recommendations.

Nine observational dimensions of ethnography:

  • Space – Physical layout of the place(s)
  • Actor – Range of people involved
  • Activity – A set of related activities that occur
  • Object – The physical things that are present
  • Act – Single actions people undertake
  • Event – Activities that people carry out
  • Time – The sequencing of events that occur
  • Goal – Things that people are trying to accomplish
  • Feeling – Emotions felt and expressed

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How to apply lead user innovation in service case (Udemy)

Lead users are those who have identified needs before they exist in the market. For lead users, solutions are necessary, so they must innovate and create some solutions to meet their needs. When creating a solution, others will like it and also want to start producing it.

After our group did the preliminary research about Udemy, we identified the gap how to build a trust relationship between education platforms and users, Convincing users to participate in your online course and be satisfied with it. This is the key to the success of the E-learning system, while lead user method can be a critical tool to achieve the establishment of trust relationship.

The lead user method assists you to integrate particularly advanced users into the creation process. As for Udemy, instead of doing marketing research and building trust by producers themselves, they can find some target lead user to participate in the process. Observing how users choose courses they trust without the assistance of any education platform (identify the key points key points that users believe a trusted online course requires), as they may search for prestigious instructor and brand courses through the google search engine. Then we can build a trust relationship between Udemy and users through lead user innovation.