Revisiting Ethnographic Study in the era of ubiquitous computing. Neo-Ethnography. Outline. Introduction to Ethnography Limitations of Traditional Ethnographic Model Ubiquitous Computing and Ethnographic Study Changing Socio-cultural Factors in Research
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Ethnographic Study in the era of
Ethnographies are “‘seen but unnoticed’ feature of everyday life.”
“Ethnography is the most mundane of things we all do as ordinary members of society, situated as we are in the various settings in which we live in our daily lives.”
When we go to class and ask our peers “what’s happening today?”,
We are doing an ethnography.
Ethnographies permeate every aspect of our ordinary lives in the most passing and unremarkable of ways.
We are doing ethnography
We are doing ethnography
The continued diversification of
computing in everyday life, and the emergence of ubiquitous computing in particular,
raises new challenges for ethnography.
distributes interaction across a burgeoning array of different applications and devices, some online, some mobile, each exploiting different mechanisms of interaction.
If ethnographers are to develop coherent understandings of interaction in changing circumstances of design
it is necessary that they reconcile
the various ‘pieces in the game’as it were.
This requires ethnographers to supplement traditional resources external to the digital setting of interaction, such as audio and video recordings of action and talk, with resources internal to the digital setting, such as the text messages and audio filesgenerated by users in their interactions together
Due to its behavior-changing attribute, ubiquitous computing technology is also called “Persuasive Technology.”
Persuasive technologies could take on many
forms, for example, from “mobile phones to 'smart' toothbrushes” (Fogg 2009) and it could be a regular thing, and where, “technology may not even be visible to the user and will increasingly become more divergent, “invisible,” and will better
integrate/plug into our everyday lives” (Fogg).
The Future of Mobile Devices as Persuasion Platforms with BJ Fogg
As ubiquitous computing is gaining prominence in the form of Smartphone, laptops, and surface computers, the traditional ethnographic model of research is losing its foothold.
Ethnography is often, “misconstrued as simply a method of field datacollection, ethnography is rather a form of analytic reportage, with the ethnographer acting as a translator or cultural broker between the group or culture under study and the reader” [Paul Dourish].
With ubiquitous computing, it is important to understand that there is nothing called global design.
The very idea of designing an interface should begin with first understanding users’ context of use, which is constantly changing. It is imperative to realize that the “social shaping of technology”
that Paul Dourish refers to as Social Computing.
Cultural factors are always changing, triggered by trend-settingspaces of social media. Therefore, cultural factors are not just about users’ cultural backgrounds but also encompass trends that are affecting users’ interactive behaviors with the system.The Internet is creating new cultural spaces, which influence users’ expectations and requirements of a system. Therefore, socio-cultural variables need specialconsideration.
In the domain of ubiquitous computing, a user is
“distributing interaction across a burgeoning array of small, mobile devices and online environments which exploit invisible sensing systems,” creating complex situations requiring ethnographers to consolidate and in some instances,
reconcile conflicting interactions”
Though there is no unified term for this new approach, it is usually referred to as Digital Ethnography that draws upon on the use of various digital artifacts to identify user requirements, distributed interactions, and the overall goal in a diverging social and cultural contexts.--Supporting Ethnographic Studies of Ubiquitous Computing in the Wild, Andy Crabtree
information about the user could be
derived from different sources - cell phones, webcams, global positioning equipment, digital cameras, the Internet, and a growing number of other technologies where
digital communication could be viewed as a
“platform for rethinking ethnographic principles, methodologies, and analysis.”
- Digital ethnography: The Next Wave in Understanding the Consumer Experience
Davis L. Masten and Tim M.P. Plowman
Digital Ethnography (Digital Ethno)
“While traditional ethnographers physically immerse themselves
in distinct places and their cultures, digital ethnographers
capitalize on wired and wireless technologies to extend classic ethnographic methods, like participant observation beyond geographic, as well as temporal, boundaries.
This method is ideally suited in documenting the fluidity
and flexibility already distinguishing contemporary cultures and communities.
Digital Ethnography could enable a “broader understanding of factors such as culture, geography, and life-stage differences” particularly in the context of ubiquitous technology where contexts of use are not always explicit rather embedded in changing social and cultural trends triggered by the social media, Web 2.0, and prosthetic Smartphone devices invisibly and ubiquitously blending into users’ daily lives.
Online Ethnography/ Virtual Ethnography Netnography
Research Focus: How to use context to aid mobile communication and enhance existing social interaction? How does context affect user activity and location information disclosure?
Research Methods: Phone calls and video chats with participants for a week in different times of the day.
Findings: Where able to record variants of real life contexts of different mobile applications depending on the time of the day.
“Environmental Cues create social presence”
Traditional Vs Digital/Neo-ethnographic Study?