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Ethnographic Research

Ethnography is an effective way of witnessing human events in the context in which they occur. It can help the industry to solve problems beyond the reach of many research approaches, particularly in the understanding of patients’ and healthcare professionals’ environments.

For the past two decades we have been recruiting patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals for our clients to conduct the following types of ethnographic research:


A process also known as “immersion”, and which involves prolonged observation (sometimes several days) of respondents’ environments allowing the researcher to build relationships and gain an understanding of the broader social context in which the research is embedded and to contextualize what people say or feel.

Participant Observation:

When a researcher actually becomes a part of the group they are studying in order to collect data and understand a social phenomenon or problem. During participant observation, the researcher works to play two separate roles at the same time: subjective participant and objective observer.

Mobile ethnography:

A technique particularly useful to get “in the moment” insight and which involves respondents using modern digital applications to record their thoughts and feelings at regular intervals or when an event happens. The benefit is scalability as there is no limit on the number of respondents which can be enrolled.

Time and Motion studies:

When researchers monitor each step of a process, attempting to determine a reasonable average time to complete each part of a particular task. They also examine the process itself in an attempt to identify places in which the current practice is inefficient, in either time or human motion, so that more efficient practices can be implemented.

Related Work

ethnographic research

Therapy Area: Neurology
Topic: MS

Multiple Sclerosis

Respondent Type: Patients

Explore what life is like day to day for a person with Multiple Sclerosis and the impact this condition can have on them, as well as their families

Sample Size: 24
Methodology: 7 weeks Video diaries. Completed twice weekly
Services Delivered: Translations, recruitment, raw footage delivery

ethnographic research

Therapy Area: Respiratory Diseases
Topic: IPF

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Respondent Type: Patients

Understand what life with IPF is like for patients and their family

Sample Size: 12
Methodology: 5 day video diary
Services Delivered: Recruitment

ethnographic research

Therapy Area: Gynaecology
Topic: Endometriosis
Respondent Type: Gynaecologists, GPs


GPs, Patients

To explore how doctors and patients feel and behave in a metaverse research environment

Sample Size: 18
Methodology: 75 minute Virtual Groups
Services Delivered: Recruitment

ethnographic research

Therapy Area: Pain Management
Topic: PNP

Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

Respondent Type: Chemotherapy-induced PNP (CIPN) patients

To better understand what it is like to live with long term nerve pain

Sample Size: 20
Methodology: 7-day mobile ethnography (mix of tasks; letter to, video / photo upload) (60 minutes of engagement in total) with PNP (peripheral neuropathic pain) patients, 60-minute follow-up interviews with patients and / or partners, 75-minute follow-up interviews with patients and / or partners
Services Delivered: Recruitment, moderation, content analysis

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