Ethnography and observation has become a popular qualitative research approach, as brands have focussed on measuring implicit consumer behaviours, and understanding the context of decision making. Traditional methodologies such as researcher observations are now being supplemented by self- reporting via mobile phones, with video or photo uploads and diaries capturing decision making or consumption in the moment. New forms of digital ethnography have emerged such as netnography, where online social interactions and dynamics of consumers are interrogated.


Ethnography is the systematic study of people and cultures. It is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnography, as the presentation of empirical data on human societies and cultures, was pioneered in the biological, social, and cultural branches of anthropology, but it has also become popular in social sciences in general.

Key insights

1. Empathy and listening are key to successful ethnography