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To get real insights, understand the buying process, the consumer' motivations : You need to understand what the world and products mean for the consumer. Consumption is social and cultural process.
A comprehensive analysis
Ethnography is not a simple observation of people and their actions. It is focused on the meaning of things, customs and speech, in context.
Ethnographers want to understand the decision process, and not the individual personnalities. They want to understand the various factors that explain behavior.
A neutral look, without judgment: A good ethnographer must take the distance from his beliefs and culture. Otherwise, the risk is to see what we want to see and to neglect influences and important facts.
All practice must be an opportunity for questioning. There is no evidence or predetermined assumptions. Everything is subject to discovery and deepening.
The ethnologist/anthropologist must be able to be foreign to the world he studies, whether in his own culture or in a different culture. His analysis must not be biased by previous interpretations.
Discourse and commun sense analysis
The consumer discourse is a set of opinions, judgments and perceptions. It is a form of social knowledge they have about things, people, actions and events.
Consumers discourse is an interpretation of their reality, which rationalizes their practices.
The analysis reveals the values, imagination, symbolism, the unspoken, the hidden and unconscious meaning.
In-situ analysis and face to face
Ethnography is a method of data collection done in daily places (at home or place of purchase). The observation is used to refine the questioning. It brings out new ideas, helps to understand the motivations. Ethnography is a conceptualized speech.
A significant interview lasts between 1 and 2 hours. It should be long enough as at the beginning of the interview, respondents do not always say what they really think. They can play a role and tell only what they judge acceptable.