The affordances of deep-immersion, team-based video ethnography in the workplace


Plurkowski, L. The affordances of deep-immersion, team-based video ethnography in the workplace. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting; 2008 November 19-23; San Francisco, CA.


As the popularity for ethnographies of work have grown in recent years in academia as well as in the corporate world, the question of how best to apply ethnographic methods in a study of work has become increasingly important. This paper overviews a specific methodological approach developed by the Workscapes and Organization group at the Palo Alto Research Center over the past thirteen years. This approach, which combines cutting-edge technology and traditional principles of ethnographic field methods, has helped PARC succeed at many large-scale, deep-emersion studies of workplaces, some spanning two years or more. This paper cites case study examples of the methodologys application to real research engagements, to illustrate its various stages: preparation, data collection, data processing, analysis, reporting and co-design. This paper will also discuss the impact this approach has on the qualities of data that can be collected as well as on the types of reports that can be given as a result of such studies.

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