Collaborative Ethnography

The evolution of technology has brought around fundamental changes in world perceptions, culture and social norms. A principal redesign this evolution has made in day-to-day society is the option for individuals to be connected with the Internet 24/7 via smart phones, tablets and laptops. This array of devices at the disposal of users, has resulted in a ‘gradual decrease in live to air viewing of television over the past 5 years, as well as changes in ways in which users view television programs’ (OZTAM, 2015). A recent trend ‘OZTAM’ has discovered is the concept  of ‘multi-screening’, in which users operate another screen whilst viewing television programs. This is made evident in OZTAM’s (2015) report claiming “75 per cent of online Australians aged 16+ say they ever watch TV and use the internet simultaneously”. 

  • The data below highlights the devices used most whilst watching TV

OZTAM uses a process of ‘media audience research‘ in order to produce their reports highlighting Australian viewing trends. This “media audience research is content-focused, and skews towards quantitative research” (Bowles, K 2015). A way in which OZTAM are able to collect and analyse this research is through ‘Collaborative Ethnography’.

Ethnography is the study of ‘social interactions, behaviours, and perceptions that occur within groups, teams, organisations, and communities’ (Reeves, S 2008). Lassiter (2015) refers to collaborative ethnography as an approach that ‘deliberately and explicitly emphasises collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it’.

Through using collaborative ethnography, the researcher is able to gain a greater understanding of consumer trends through creating a connection with those they are interviewing. It creates a two-way street in which the consumer receives something from the ethnographer and the ethnographer receives something from the consumer. Lassiter (2015) refers to this connection as ‘threads of collaboration between ethnographers and their consultants’.

As media use is set to increase over the years to come; so will companies using collaborative ethnography looking to exploit this research in order to gain knowledge of trends and patterns as well as strong relationships with consumers.



< >

Bowles, K 2015, ‘Media, Audience, Place’, BCM240, Lecture 3,

Lassiter, E.L 2005, ‘The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography’, University of Chicago Press, Chicago,

< > 

Reeves, S 2008,’Qualitative Research Methodologies: Ethnography’, bmj, 

< >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s