The Tao of Two - the delicate art of the ethnographic interview

Last week I was in the audience of an online market research seminar when the subject of the ‘one-on-one interview’ came up, with the presenter extolling the virtues of “good old conversational probing”. I couldn’t agree more. At the end, someone else in the audience posted the question “what qualifications or training do you need in order to be a good interviewer?” To which the presenter replied “a psychology degree, or social sciences…” I couldn’t agree less. It got me thinking about why and how working as an ethnographer has shaped my interview technique.

Fresh perspectives uncover new opportunities - Illuminating the tacit and double distancing

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how ethnography is much more than the application of a few techniques and models but is, at best, a whole different perspective and approach. The article struck something of a chord amongst trained ethnographers, many of whom seemed to share my dismay at the dumbing down of ethnography and the appropriation of its good name by barely skilled practitioners. Here I me to share a case study which exemplified how ethnography is more than just in-home interviews and ‘hanging out’ with customers and what material insights were gained by taking a less superficial approach.