Pink, S., & Morgan, J. (2013). Short‐Term Ethnography: Intense Routes to Knowing (Summary)

This article discusses shorter term ethnographic research for applied projects. Rather than constantly seeking new and innovative methods, as many researchers do, the authors explore an existing solid approach with new perspective. The authors argue that rapid ethnography, although assumed to be too fast and undetailed, is quite intense and detailed. They authors describe the qualities of short-term ethnography as: the intensity of the research encounter, and a focus on detail. I like this perspective, because I think that a few carefully crafted research questions can tell you much more about people than making them go through pages of demographics. We can pull from the strengths of ethnographic research, and don’t necessarily have to include every aspect for every project. I personally love to provide data for products or experiences, but even I get unmotivated with long forms. It is refreshing to see the view of short-term ethnography as a real choice for methodology, rather than seeing it as a backup method when projects have time constraints. Neither rapid nor slow ethnography is a better approach than the other, but reflexivity of the true goals of a project can help researchers find the methods that may provide a better experience for everyone involved in the process.

Pink, S., & Morgan, J. (2013). Short‐Term Ethnography: Intense Routes to Knowing. Symbolic Interaction, 36(3), 351–361.

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