China’s Democratic Future

Democracy in China is not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’, according to Bruce Gilley, in his book “China’s Democratic Future: How It Will Happen and Where It Will Lead”. According to Gilley, a democratic future in China lies just around the corner. Gilley describes different scenarios on how this democratization in China will come about. He then poses the question: That being so, where it lead? (more…)

Multinationals in India: New Paradigms Business Applies

Up until recently, an international brand would enter an emerging market like India, by taking an existing product and create a stripped down low-cost version for the new market. But not any longer. Traditional business models no longer apply in India. Increasingly, you will see new products developed from the ground up with new business models. The March 2012 McKinsey Quarterly article, “How Multinationals Can Win in India,” predicts that in the next 10 years, 20% of global revenue growth will come from India. For multinationals in India to succeed, they must adopt new business paradigms immediately.

So far, multinationals have made gains in particular niches. However, none had achieved market leadership on a large scale in India. The report cited examples of companies that failed by clinging to old global business paradigms. When they shifted tracks, they experienced a turnaround.

In the article in The Economist, ‘Less is more‘, (Nov 17th, 2011) supports the contention that old global business models are no longer effective in today’s market. In the past, developing countries were perceived to be sources of lower labor costs. Today these countries are creative and are building low-cost technology and machinery that are being sold in developed markets.

One of the cited examples is the Fetal Heart Monitor, developed by Siemens. The idea for it came from India. In the past, ultrasounds were used to monitor the heart of the fetus. But these machines are expensive, complicated and one must be trained on how to use it. In India they simply used off-the-shelf microphones. German engineers improved the product without changing its simplicity. Anyone can operate a Fetal Heart Monitor without any training. It is also much cheaper than an ultrasound.

New business paradigms needed in India

A new global business paradigm must utilize the capacity of large corporations to grasp the expertise of developed countries and combine it with innovative creations from developing countries like India. To do this successfully will mean letting go of old global business market mindsets and paradigms that didn’t succeed in India. These include:

– The concept that one model fits all: This is not true in India. The country’s market is largely fragmented. In essence, there are many “Indias” within India. There is a plethora of cultures, geography, different languages, literacy levels and financial levels per culture group. There is a need to understand each of these cultures’ ways, needs and circumstances, so that products can be adjusted to meet each cultural market’s requirements to enhance sales

– Hierarchy, bureaucratic roadblocks: A foreign multinational head who holds all decision making power poses a disadvantage, especially if he is based outside the country. He is unfamiliar with India’s unique business culture. Plus, India regularly experiences changing market conditions. The multinational head fails to respond to these changes adequately

Some multinationals recognized the flaws of centralized autonomy. They responded by delegating a high degree of autonomy to Indian operations. In one case, a company that did this experienced a 30% revenue growth yearly from 2001 – 2005, the McKinsey report said.

Delegate autonomy to India

Transferring autonomy to Indian operations is the crux of needed change by multinationals. It implies that only India’s top talent is tapped to handle the delegated autonomy competently. The Indian leader has knowledge of, and experience with the Indian market. He decides on capital expenditure, head-counts, product development, product customization and pricing. He also oversees empowerment of lower management levels to enhance innovation and free enterprise.

Strong middle management is critical to successfully implementing business growth strategy. Ironically, India lacks good local middle management talent. The McKinsey report cited three ways that some multinationals have responded to the situation. First, through the institution of a fair and transparent reward system based on performance. This included incentives including career advancement to encourage self starters with high performance levels. Secondly, through the creation of prestigious job positions. These jobs included membership on executive committees and global visibility. Other incentives were higher salaries and more authority. The position was usually granted to those with strengths on entrepreneurship.

The final way is through the provision of certified leadership development courses. This became an incentive to recruit new talent and was a way to retain good performers. Leadership programs were also introduced that provided mobility and structured global rotation for top performers.

Commitment raises bottom line

It is necessary that multinational companies shift their vision when they do business in India. It is not efficient nor profitable to always focus on the bottom line. A shift in vision will call for more commitment on the part of the multinational in many ways. One means of doing this would be to expand commitment cycles. Ideally, top leadership should aim for five-year target cycles in India, and aim high. Commitment would also require global CEOs and senior executives to visit the country an average of four times yearly. This will give them the opportunity to dialogue with local clients, and get a keener understanding of shifting business cycles so that they would have an eye on which local investments deserve continued support amid business cycles.

It goes without saying that when a multinational delegates authority to its Indian CEO, there is sufficient funding to back him up. This implies, too, that the multinational has aimed high and hired only the best man for the job. At the same time, understanding the capability of your Indian CEO, it is mutually beneficial that he also has a place in global executive committees.

Quality products, lower cost

Success in India requires understanding the spending power and the demands of the Indian market. Indians like good quality products, but these should be available at prices they can afford. To make these products affordable without sacrificing quality, one can remove frills that can cut production cost from 50-70%. Sometimes, there is a side benefit to the above. An example that McKinsey cited involved a low cost, no-frills tractor that a multinational firm created for Indian farmers. The product also, surprisingly, became marketable in the US, where a number of farmers wanted a sophisticated yet affordable tractor. What yinned, in essence, also yanged.

However, producing a good product is not enough, especially in India. It is necessary to have a distribution network and chain supply that works efficiently among the various “Indias within India.” This means that the multinationals must retain strong relationships with their leading stakeholders, such as external agencies, the government and regulators.

When making a five-cycle business plan, part of the plan should be to aim high. This would mean regularly seeking new business development options. A specific team must be formed for the purpose of developing local partnerships that enhance revenue. McKinsey cited the example of a large beverage firm that was hindered, among other things, by labor laws that made distribution expensive. The firm solved its problem and circumvented these laws by contracting local distribution entrepreneurs. In the end, market penetration was enhanced, at significantly lower costs.

Finally, it is time for multinationals to outsource Indian products and talent globally. India’s products are cheaper, and the country has a vast talent pool to produce these products on a much larger scale. This can be done with an R & D team from India that is tasked to discover new innovations in the country that are relevant to markets overseas.

Sources:
https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Strategy/Globalization/How_multinationals_can_win_in_India_2938#
http://www.economist.com/node/21537984

Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative research methods in ethnographical studies are carried out by examining various aspects of a society from within. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the most common qualitative research methods used in ethnography.


The primary task of an ethnographer is to understand and clearly outline the main features of a civilization and their culture. This is done through getting all the relevant information about the various aspects of an event or a process that happens within the society. This includes obtaining first-hand information from people through interviews, surveys, and personal observations as well as informal interaction.

An ethnographer can also deduce the mechanics of various events in a society by studying or researching about the local laws, Government and statutory policies along with historical trends and records. By understanding each and every aspect of a community, it is possible for an ethnographer or a researcher to fine tune their findings and create a precise report on the distinctive differences in opinions and decision making processes that happens within the society.

Most of the time during ethnographical research, an ethnographer is expected to live within the society and co-exist with the subjects or population who are being researched. Hence, contrary to Cultural Anthropology, a lot of field work is involved, and actual personal interaction with people is vital in creating an effective model of the society and its culture. The social status of an ethnographer is irrelevant, as they are required to live among the general populace like an ordinary individual to keep the research real and objective.

Having a good rapport with informants and knowledgeable people within the society is imperative from the researcher’s perspective, as this can ensure a constant stream of good quality information and data throughout the duration of the research. It is customary for ethnographers to be involved in the field work for an extended duration, and at times, spending more than a year or two for comprehensive research is quite possible and essential.

An ethnographer arrives at a conclusive data only after analyzing and researching through several different resources. An ethnographer can choose to use existing data to build up their facts, but their current research materials will function as a base for creating a cultural frame of analysis.

The field work in ethnography is the most important aspect of the research. There is usually a collection of information gathering techniques that can help the researcher understand and record the meaning and intention of social activities and their decisions in the community that naturally occur from the people of the community. This collection of techniques is usually known as the ‘Field’ in ethnography. The ultimate aim of such kind of a research is to present an unbiased opinion of the society without any input from the researcher on their personal point of view.

An ethnographer should be willing to use several information gathering techniques and strategies to nurture successful relationships with the people of a community to achieve detailed characterization of the society and its people. The methods of data collection vary from interviews, surveys, in-depth informant observation and experiencing the culture through first-hand experience. The interview process is supposed to be seamless, and is often taped to be transcribed at a later date.

By recording an interview, it is usually easier for the researcher to keep the flow of information exchange intact without having to break the conversation to take down notes. Interview tapes can also be used for further analysis, reference as well as future research purposes. As part of the overall research process, an ethnographer can also go through various documents and other research materials to validate their research and to gain valuable insights into topics that were left out during their current studies.

Participant observation is the process of settling down at the locality of research on a long term basis for finding out about the society. In ethnographical research, participant observation relates to observing and analyzing the different aspects of a society for a considerable amount of time, and this data forms the basis for further studies and research.

Participant observation is a highly imperative aspect for an ethnographer. To be able to successfully understand the lifestyle or culture of a society, an ethnographer should be able to understand what it is like to live in the setting without any personal attachments. In brief, an ethnographer should experience the life within a society without contributing to it and should be detached from any personal feelings to offer unbiased information on the experience.

An ethnographer is just an observer of life, and will not, under any circumstances, try to change the outcome of the research through personal involvement. However, during the course of research, it is commonplace for ethnographers to form emotional attachment with their subjects, and can be an advocate to the citizens of the community. This is often the result of spending large amounts of time by living amongst the subjects and going through different experiences. But ethnographers are bound to (and should) keep such emotional bonds private and out of the scope of ethnography.

Due to the historical significance and disciplinary aspects of cultures, ethnographers from the early days used to concentrate on different regions outside their nations to practice ethnography. This resulted in ethnographers relatively ignoring the huge possibilities of ethnographical research and studies within their home and locality.

The end result is that the ethnographical research data and information currently available for United States is done by different nationalities. But these days, numerous Cultural Anthropologists and ethnographers are increasingly getting immersed in researching their own society and there are more people are inclined to do fieldwork at their own places of residence or work.

Conducting interviews in person is one of the most basic and effective ways of receiving clear-cut and targeted information by asking flexible questions. As with all other avenues, ethnography also possesses a range of varying interview concepts. But it is up to the ethnographer to choose the interview style that best suits the circumstances.

Qualitative research is entirely different to quantitative research. Quantitative research deals in getting answers from a set of predetermined choices from the most amounts of people in a demographic. This often tends to be representative of the instantaneous choice of the subjects, rather than thoughtful and qualitative information. In a qualitative research, however, the importance is given to the quality of the information, rather than the quantity.

This allows subjects to respond freely and voice their opinion on questions, rather than limiting them to pre-defined choices. Ethnographic interviews tend to be largely similar to a normal everyday conversation, but there are differences that one can spot quite easily. Interviews can be impulsive, casual and instantaneous, as the questions are targeted, and no one can prepare a set of pre-determined questions to understand the specific details of a society.

Various research projects require different sources and types of data, which initiates researchers to find alternate sources for information. In most cases, this information is found through existing research reports, Government documents, magazines and even newspaper articles. These commodities are often representative of the actual happenings and news within a society. It is not essential to consider these artifacts and literature as a primary source for data, but they can be used as a secondary reference when specific research and studies require extensive and relevant information.

The main aspect of ethnography is field work. Gathering data is done through personal interaction, which necessitates the ethnographer to obtain information through various direct approaches. An ethnographer will have to relocate to different localities, and might be required to shift their base to a different country or a community to interact with their research subjects.

Such an interaction and keen observation can help ethnographers gain valuable information on the effects of Government policies and local laws on people’s lives. An ethnographer should obtain data from different sources, and must consider the larger picture, instead of focusing on a single individual. By adopting a holistic approach, the conclusive report can be representative of the entire community, rather than focusing attention on singular examples.

The final report is created after the fieldwork is completed. This is an opportunity for the ethnographer to convey their studies and experiences in a pre-defined format. These reports usually contain a journal of their daily life experiences, lifestyles, social rituals, cultural phenomenon, and details of other activities that form the basis of the society under research.

What is Ethnography

Ethnography in broad terms defines the scientific study and research that is done on human behavior. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at different types and usages of ethnography and finaly define “what is ethnography”


There are distinctive features of a culture and various circumstances that form the basis of every social circle or ethnicity. Ethnography deals in obtaining a range of data on phenomenon using collective qualitative and analytical methods to study these features extensively.

The basic idea behind ethnography is to use research and analysis to arrive at an informed decision about the mechanics of why certain factors affect the outcome of various events that happen within a society. This can be derived using proper exploration of the facts and collective research, which can in turn provide general ideas about a culture to arrive at a plausible hypothesis.

The roots of ethnography can be traced back to socio-cultural anthropology. Sociocultural anthropology is a blend of social and cultural anthropology that deals in finding out the core differences in human behavior under varying social circumstances and in different cultures.

Ethnography is being largely used in social studies to understand the various aspects of different cultures across the world, and is also used to better comprehend the values of historians. History does tend to make use of ethnographical studies to understand the evolution of humans and their culture across generations.

Ethnography is also used in the present day context to improve communications so as to enhance trade ideas between different ethnic groups and cultures. So, we’ve defined the basics of what is ethnography. Let’s dig a little deeper.

In this article:

What is an Ethnographer
Ethnography vs Cultural Anthropology
Ethnography for Business
Online Ethnography, Virtual Ethnography

What is an Ethnographer

An ethnographer is a person who deals in ethnography. In essence, an ethnographer is responsible for collecting and recording data using social references to analyze and arrive at conclusions on human culture and behavior. The research techniques adopted by an ethnographer varies according to the specific study or research that is specific to a society or culture. Ethnography is a broad subject, and there are sub-topics such as Field, Visual and Design Ethnography.

The choice of ethnographical study group is up to the ethnographer, and they decide to adopt a category depending on the specific requirements for studying different models to arrive at a logical reasoning. It is the duty of an ethnographer to clearly understand the problems experienced by a large group of people from varied cultures and living under different backgrounds using ethnography as a basis to find recognizable patterns.

The data represented by ethnographers will depict the point of view of a person within a culture or society that is being based for the ethnographical study. This will help researchers understand the occurrences and cultural phenomenon that happens within a society from an insider’s perspective.

The advantage of these studies is that all amounts of research available to the researcher will help them gain valuable information from ethnographical representation through a “first-hand experience’, rather than deriving them out of existing data and assumptions from outdated socio-cultural models. On other accounts, an ethic perspective can only provide data and information from an analytical and distant point of view, thereby separating the researcher from the actual experience.

Ethnography vs Cultural Anthropology

Ethnography is in broader terms; a field related to and branched from cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology deals with the study on human culture and behavioral aspects of humans in societies.

It is characteristic for people to get confused between ethnography and cultural anthropology. There are even instances where both are used conversely. The matter of the fact is that ethnography is far simpler in terms of research and approach when compared to cultural anthropology.

The research techniques associated with cultural anthropology deals in grouping together data and hypothesis on various occurrences and phenomenon related to the society. On the other hand, ethnography deals in furthering research through building up from the already available empirical data of existing models on societies and human culture.

Ethnography encompasses most of the aspects of cultural anthropology. Ethnography is actually related to finding out about the society or culture through direct interaction with the subjects, while cultural anthropology adopts studying about society and culture as a part of science. Therefore, cultural anthropology is considered as an academic discipline, while ethnography may be considered as a research oriented approach to cultural anthropology.

The fields of expertise for an ethnographer range from education, geography, education, economics, linguistics and social work that forms the basis of a society. While choosing their area of specialty, ethnographers should accumulate data that can be used for the overall welfare of the society, or can in turn be used to aid business ventures or economic ideas. In most cases, the information gathered by ethnographers will be used to improve the living standards of people within the society by understanding their basic needs.

Ethnography finds quite a lot of significance in cultural anthropology, and the information that is accumulated through ethnographical research is often used by various anthropologists to help them better understand and build up on the various aspects of a society.

Ethnography can provide great insights into the basic human behavior, and helps keep track of the changing trends in lifestyle and culture. This is why various advertisement and marketing agencies make use of ethnographical research data to target their advertisements so as to cater to the latest consumer trends and market demands.

An ethnographer’s technique in research on social and cultural values varies greatly from an Anthropologist’s perspective. However, the fundamentals behind the collection of information are embedded in the overall academic discipline of Anthropology.

In many ways, one can consider ethnography to be a qualitative research process that describes the outcome in the form of interpretation of the social behavior and culture of a specific ethnicity or demographic. An ethnographer’s job is not to observe the aspects of a civilization from a distance, but to understand and analyze various events that occur within a civilization or society through first-hand experience.

Ethnography for Business

Multi-national companies and business organizations are increasingly spending a large amount of money and effort on ethnography to understand the demands of the market and to tailor their products or services according to the existing demand. The concept of demand and supply with respect to consumers in the market can be clearly understood using ethnographical research strategies. Ethnography is the basis for all new product or service ideas development.

In other words, business ethnography is a core part of international companies research and development efforts.

Businesses require ethnographers to be true to their research standards by being systematic and complete in their ethnographic methods. All the first-hand and real life experience gained by an ethnographer will be put to good use while designing and developing products. The research data will also help companies understand or tap into any unknown aspirations for products or services that are relatively non-existent in the market.

Unlike normal quantitative research methods, where the data is being generated through word of mouth or controlled opinions from a small set of individuals or focus groups, ethnography deals in qualitative data acquisition, which is the actual real life experiences and scenarios associated with a community.

Hence, by avoiding focus groups and surveys, ethnography can cater to the exact requirements of the public demands, and can help companies with better marketing and advertising to actually sell their products and services to the customers. There might be various cultural and social stigmas associated with several products, and by opting for ethnography, rather than focus groups, it is possible to avoid the perils of ordinary focus group oriented research and data.

Design ethnography is one of the key disciplines that work well with businesses and companies. Design ethnography deals with the study of requirements, desires, impulses and overall demand of people in a community. Design ethnography is highly targeted and oriented towards offering key research data for companies to build products and services to cater to the demands or requirements of the consumers in a demographic.

The key aspect of Design Ethnography is that the research done by design ethnographers can be used by all industries, and there isn’t any need for different types of research or data acquisition. As an example for this kind of ethnographical research, the lack of consistent electrical or power supply in a majority of developing nations has led various companies to design consumer electronic products such as mobile phones to work on alternate sources of energy. This was made possible by directly experiencing the issues faced by the people within that community through ethnography.

Online Ethnography, Virtual Ethnography

Online ethnography is the latest addition to the field of ethnographical research, and its presence or requirement was fueled by the increase in online presence of various social communities and businesses. Online ethnography, or also known as virtual ethnography, is entirely similar to normal ethnography, the difference being that the entire research is based out of online experiences.

The virtual world doesn’t allow actual physical interaction between people, but virtual ethnographers tend to work around the concept of experiencing the social behavior of people and communities through online avenues. Unlike normal communities and societies, social networks bring together a group of people on the basis of their passion, ideas and beliefs, rather than being based out of an actual geographical location.

The basic idea behind virtual social communities is to share ideas and views on different subjects that are of interest to a particular group of people. There are different strategies adopted by online or virtual ethnographers to research and understand such groups. One way to research these communities is to actually join the group as a participant and share ideas to get involved in the group, which will eventually help the ethnographer to gain useful insights about the people involved and the community as a whole.

On the other hand, virtual ethnographers can remain in the background and analyze the community from a distance. This is usually done by being anonymous and invisible to the community that is being researched. While this may prove to be a great way for the ethnographer to remain hidden, the process of researching an online community from a distance is also called “Lurking”. Lurking involves studying or monitoring the actions of a part or all of the components of the community, from a distance, to gain a better understanding of the fundamentals and ideas that contribute to the events that happen within the online community or society.

What is Ethnography

Ethnography in broad terms defines the scientific study and research that is done on human behavior. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at different types and usages of ethnography and finaly define “what is ethnography”

There are distinctive features of a culture and various circumstances that form the basis of every social circle or ethnicity. Ethnography deals in obtaining a range of data on phenomenon using collective qualitative and analytical methods to study these features extensively.

The basic idea behind ethnography is to use research and analysis to arrive at an informed decision about the mechanics of why certain factors affect the outcome of various events that happen within a society. This can be derived using proper exploration of the facts and collective research, which can in turn provide general ideas about a culture to arrive at a plausible hypothesis.

The roots of ethnography can be traced back to socio-cultural anthropology. Sociocultural anthropology is a blend of social and cultural anthropology that deals in finding out the core differences in human behavior under varying social circumstances and in different cultures.

Ethnography is being largely used in social studies to understand the various aspects of different cultures across the world, and is also used to better comprehend the values of historians. History does tend to make use of ethnographical studies to understand the evolution of humans and their culture across generations.

Ethnography is also used in the present day context to improve communications so as to enhance trade ideas between different ethnic groups and cultures. So, we’ve defined the basics of what is ethnography. Let’s dig a little deeper.

What is an Ethnographer

An ethnographer is a person who deals in ethnography. In essence, an ethnographer is responsible for collecting and recording data using social references to analyze and arrive at conclusions on human culture and behavior. The research techniques adopted by an ethnographer varies according to the specific study or research that is specific to a society or culture. Ethnography is a broad subject, and there are sub-topics such as Field, Visual and Design Ethnography.

The choice of ethnographical study group is up to the ethnographer, and they decide to adopt a category depending on the specific requirements for studying different models to arrive at a logical reasoning. It is the duty of an ethnographer to clearly understand the problems experienced by a large group of people from varied cultures and living under different backgrounds using ethnography as a basis to find recognizable patterns.

The data represented by ethnographers will depict the point of view of a person within a culture or society that is being based for the ethnographical study. This will help researchers understand the occurrences and cultural phenomenon that happens within a society from an insider’s perspective.

The advantage of these studies is that all amounts of research available to the researcher will help them gain valuable information from ethnographical representation through a “first-hand experience’, rather than deriving them out of existing data and assumptions from outdated socio-cultural models. On other accounts, an ethic perspective can only provide data and information from an analytical and distant point of view, thereby separating the researcher from the actual experience.

Ethnography vs Cultural Anthropology

Ethnography is in broader terms; a field related to and branched from cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology deals with the study on human culture and behavioral aspects of humans in societies.

It is characteristic for people to get confused between ethnography and cultural anthropology. There are even instances where both are used conversely. The matter of the fact is that ethnography is far simpler in terms of research and approach when compared to cultural anthropology.

The research techniques associated with cultural anthropology deals in grouping together data and hypothesis on various occurrences and phenomenon related to the society. On the other hand, ethnography deals in furthering research through building up from the already available empirical data of existing models on societies and human culture.

Ethnography encompasses most of the aspects of cultural anthropology. Ethnography is actually related to finding out about the society or culture through direct interaction with the subjects, while cultural anthropology adopts studying about society and culture as a part of science. Therefore, cultural anthropology is considered as an academic discipline, while ethnography may be considered as a research oriented approach to cultural anthropology.

The fields of expertise for an ethnographer range from education, geography, education, economics, linguistics and social work that forms the basis of a society. While choosing their area of specialty, ethnographers should accumulate data that can be used for the overall welfare of the society, or can in turn be used to aid business ventures or economic ideas. In most cases, the information gathered by ethnographers will be used to improve the living standards of people within the society by understanding their basic needs.

Ethnography finds quite a lot of significance in cultural anthropology, and the information that is accumulated through ethnographical research is often used by various anthropologists to help them better understand and build up on the various aspects of a society.

Ethnography can provide great insights into the basic human behavior, and helps keep track of the changing trends in lifestyle and culture. This is why various advertisement and marketing agencies make use of ethnographical research data to target their advertisements so as to cater to the latest consumer trends and market demands.

An ethnographer’s technique in research on social and cultural values varies greatly from an Anthropologist’s perspective. However, the fundamentals behind the collection of information are embedded in the overall academic discipline of Anthropology.

In many ways, one can consider ethnography to be a qualitative research process that describes the outcome in the form of interpretation of the social behavior and culture of a specific ethnicity or demographic. An ethnographer’s job is not to observe the aspects of a civilization from a distance, but to understand and analyze various events that occur within a civilization or society through first-hand experience.

Ethnography for Business

Multi-national companies and business organizations are increasingly spending a large amount of money and effort on ethnography to understand the demands of the market and to tailor their products or services according to the existing demand. The concept of demand and supply with respect to consumers in the market can be clearly understood using ethnographical research strategies. Ethnography is the basis for all new product or service ideas development.

In other words, business ethnography is a core part of international companies research and development efforts.

Businesses require ethnographers to be true to their research standards by being systematic and complete in their ethnographic methods. All the first-hand and real life experience gained by an ethnographer will be put to good use while designing and developing products. The research data will also help companies understand or tap into any unknown aspirations for products or services that are relatively non-existent in the market.

Unlike normal quantitative research methods, where the data is being generated through word of mouth or controlled opinions from a small set of individuals or focus groups, ethnography deals in qualitative data acquisition, which is the actual real life experiences and scenarios associated with a community.

Hence, by avoiding focus groups and surveys, ethnography can cater to the exact requirements of the public demands, and can help companies with better marketing and advertising to actually sell their products and services to the customers. There might be various cultural and social stigmas associated with several products, and by opting for ethnography, rather than focus groups, it is possible to avoid the perils of ordinary focus group oriented research and data.

Design ethnography is one of the key disciplines that work well with businesses and companies. Design ethnography deals with the study of requirements, desires, impulses and overall demand of people in a community. Design ethnography is highly targeted and oriented towards offering key research data for companies to build products and services to cater to the demands or requirements of the consumers in a demographic.

The key aspect of Design Ethnography is that the research done by design ethnographers can be used by all industries, and there isn’t any need for different types of research or data acquisition. As an example for this kind of ethnographical research, the lack of consistent electrical or power supply in a majority of developing nations has led various companies to design consumer electronic products such as mobile phones to work on alternate sources of energy. This was made possible by directly experiencing the issues faced by the people within that community through ethnography.

Online Ethnography, Virtual Ethnography

Online ethnography is the latest addition to the field of ethnographical research, and its presence or requirement was fueled by the increase in online presence of various social communities and businesses. Online ethnography, or also known as virtual ethnography, is entirely similar to normal ethnography, the difference being that the entire research is based out of online experiences.

The virtual world doesn’t allow actual physical interaction between people, but virtual ethnographers tend to work around the concept of experiencing the social behavior of people and communities through online avenues. Unlike normal communities and societies, social networks bring together a group of people on the basis of their passion, ideas and beliefs, rather than being based out of an actual geographical location.

The basic idea behind virtual social communities is to share ideas and views on different subjects that are of interest to a particular group of people. There are different strategies adopted by online or virtual ethnographers to research and understand such groups. One way to research these communities is to actually join the group as a participant and share ideas to get involved in the group, which will eventually help the ethnographer to gain useful insights about the people involved and the community as a whole.

On the other hand, virtual ethnographers can remain in the background and analyze the community from a distance. This is usually done by being anonymous and invisible to the community that is being researched. While this may prove to be a great way for the ethnographer to remain hidden, the process of researching an online community from a distance is also called “Lurking”. Lurking involves studying or monitoring the actions of a part or all of the components of the community, from a distance, to gain a better understanding of the fundamentals and ideas that contribute to the events that happen within the online community or society.