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The basics of mobile ethnography

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Learn more about experience research on https://blog.morethanmetrics.com/research-basics/

This is an introduction to mobile ethnography, a method to research experiences, e.g. customer experience or employee experience. Mobile ethnography makes use of mobile devices to let participants share feedback on their perception of a product or service.

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The basics of mobile ethnography

  1. 1. MOBILEETHNOGRAPHY Ethnography is a discipline of anthropology that focuses on understanding peoples behavior and their relationships by observing them and using various techniques. It uses modern technology and transforms the participant into an active researcher. WHEN TO USE IT? • When you have participants in several locations • If the participants have a smartphone • If you want to use a method that really lets the participant decide what they share without too much influence or bias from the researcher BENEFITS OF THE METHOD • Gather real data on customer experience when and where it happens • Customers define their own touchpoints (no rigid predefined categories) which can decrease research bias • It’s time- and cost-efficient • Research teams can be dispersed CHALLENGES OF MOBILE ETHNOGRAPHY • It can miss non-verbal feedback • Recruiting participants • Briefing participants clearly WHAT YOU’LL NEED • Computer with internet access • Smartphone • Mobile ethnography tool Basics NUMBER OF RESEARCHERS • Minimum 1 (it’s better to have teams of 2-3 researchers to have researcher triangulation) * Note: in mobile ethnography the researchers are those who are analyzing the results that the participants share. NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS Typically, you’ll face a drop-out rate of approx. 50 %. Consider this when you decide your sample size. See our ExperienceFellow guide to see the pros and cons of sample sizes un- der 20 and over 20. WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO GET OUT OF EXPERIENCEFELLOW • Journey maps with text, photos, videos, audio recordings, date and time, geolocation • Deeper insights that are based on what the user or customer thinks are the most important • Statistics (keep in mind that the sample size is crucial for the interpretation) STEPS BEFORE 1. DEFINE Choose a research question that you want to consider with this method. Decide how long you will collect information. 2. DESIGN Set up the project in a mobile ethnography application like ExperienceFellow ;) 3. TEST Test the project yourself, with a few colleagues or a test group of real participants. Is your task clear? Do you get the data you expect? 4. OUTREACH Recruit a variety of participants for the project. Offer relevant incentives for participating. Explain the task very clearly. Depending on how hands on you want to be, you can tell participants what you want them to focus on and how detailed you want them to report what they experience. DURING 5. ANALYZE As participants share their experience, researchers can start to analyze data. 6. REMIND Send participants notifications to prompt them along the way. AFTER 7. FOLLOW UP Thank participants and share some of the insights or actions that came from the research. WWW.EXPERIENCEFELLOW.COM Mobile ethnography, however, uses modern technology and transforms the participant into an active researcher. By using a mobile device, participants can document and share anything that they perceive as important. Depending on the research question or topic, participants can share their experiences, daily routines, whatever might be of interest to them, and/or follow a specific research task.

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