Ethnographic observation and interview

Objectives of ethnographic observation combined with an interview

Ethnographic interviews are used for fundamental, socio-cultural or exploratory studies. In-home interviews with participants provide the opportunity to dig deeper with regard to their relationship with different subjects (e.g. the importance of family, money, the media, food etc....), subjects that are more intimate, sensitive or even cultural and also to understand their consumption rituals, their habits and their attitudes vis-à-vis certain specific issues. Observation of their home environment (rooms, equipment, actions, behaviour) carried out at the same time as the interview can provide food for further discussions that may bring to light certain repressed thoughts, unconscious or routine behaviours that are sometimes left in the background by respondents when more conventional methods are used. Analysis of this kind makes it possible to identify consumer typologies linked to specific behaviours and to acquire a socio-cultural awareness of different generations or target groups in each of the markets surveyed. 

Setting up an ethnographic interview

Consumers who have been recruited generally welcome us into their own home. The visit lasts between one and two hours and is filmed. The participants show us around the different rooms of their house or flat, providing access to elements of interest for more in-depth exploration (cupboards, wardrobes, refrigerator, IT equipment, library, beauty products and toiletries etc...).
They may be asked to perform certain tasks (e.g. have breakfast, work/read at their desk, go shopping, etc…) under our watchful eye. After this observation phase, discussions take place with the consumer on their rituals and habits. It is this alternation between observation and dialogue that makes this approach so effective for exploring consumers' usages and attitudes.