The challenges facing ethnographic design research: A proposed methodological solution

Philip Cash, Ben Hicks, Stephen Culley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

5 Citations (Scopus)


Central to improving and maintaining high levels of performance in emerging ethnographic design research is a fundamental requirement to address some of the problems associated with the subject. In particular seven core issues are identified and include the complexity of test development, variability of methods, resource intensiveness, subjectivity, comparability, common metrics and industrial acceptance. To address these problems this paper describes a structured methodological approach in which three main areas are proposed, the modularisation of the research process, the standardisation of the dataset and the stratification of the research context. The paper then examines the fundamental requirements of this scheme and how these relate to a Design Observatory approach. Following this, the proposed solution is related back to the initial problem set and potential issues are discussed. Finally the paper concludes with a possible scheme for the implementation process required for such a solution and the roles to be played by a Design Observatory approach.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationProceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design. Vol. 2.
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 09; Palo Alto, CA; 24-27 August 2009;

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