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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: Endocrinology
Topic: Growth Hormone Deficiency
Respondent Type: Families (child prescribed growth hormone therapy and caregiver)

To understand how families using growth hormone therapy manage the condition now. To identify how pharma can support families with a connected device system.

Sample Size: 6
Methodology: 60-minute pre-task and 150-minute F2F in home interviews
Services Delivered: Recruitment

ethnographic research

Therapy Area: Inherited conditions
Topic: Wilson's disease
Respondent Type: Patients and caregivers

To explore what living with Wilson’s Disease means.

Sample Size: 12
Methodology: 5-day video diary followed by 30 minute Telephone Depth Interview
Services Delivered: Translations, recruitment, moderation and transcripts

ethnographic research

Therapy Area: Endocrinology
Topic: Diabetes
Respondent Type: Diabetes patients

To understand about what life is like with diabetes and how patients monitor their glucose levels

Sample Size: 20
Methodology: 3 week Video Diary (15 mins a day on average) followed by 90 min TDI after the video diary
Services Delivered: Recruitment

ethnographic research

Therapy Area: Endocrinology
Topic: Diabetes and Obesity
Respondent Type: Diabetes patients

To understand how diabetes and obesity affects patients' lives and how they are treated

Sample Size: 130
Methodology: 70-minute online survey, followed by a photo elicitation phase followed by a 60 minute Web Assisted Telephone Depth Interviews (WATDIs)
Services Delivered: Recruitment, scripting

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