Thursday, September 15, 2011

EthOS check list

Here's the deal: you have just signed up and downloaded the app. And about to start your first ever EthOS ethnography project. And I stress ethnography project, which is what this check list is for:

Creating your project on EthOS
1) Examine your project objectives/deliverables carefully. Some will be observation based and some will be question based. Do not mix them up!

2) What do you absolutely need to capture (film & photos) to help you meet your observational objectives?

3) What do you need to ask/probe (text & audio) to meet your question based objectives?

4) When inviting respondents (we call them researchers) in 'manage project people', make sure you tell them in advance that they will be receiving emails with QR codes to scan and launch their project on the EthOS app. We receive many support emails from respondents asking us not to spam them!!! Because they have forgotten they are taking part in a project and they had no idea they were going to receive a QR code to scan.

5) Know your permission levels when you invite anyone to your project. Note that a project manager can invite other project managers without your permission.

Recruiting respondents (people)
1) No matter how carefully you need recruit, don't ignore sites like Craigslist to find respondents. We have used it successfully on a number of occasions as have a bunch of clients. The only issue is the large drop out rate after respondents have agreed to take part. Half may not show up! So be sure to double up your sample.

2) If using a recruitment shop - your drop out rate will be far less, but your costs, including incentive costs, will be much higher. However, it will save you a lot of valuable time and potential headaches with having to deal with recruitment yourself.

3) Once the project begins, expect 1/10 respondents to not contribute often or effectively enough. Careful recruitment will minimise this. BTW, this figure is 2/3 for discussion groups.

4) When recruiting, be clear that all household members must be happy with participating in your study. Even if they are not directly involved. It can be annoying knowing that family members (usually dads in my experience) are hiding just off camera.

5) If you are going to be using them for additional explorations - we sometimes do our own participant observation with people at the end of a journaling phase - make sure you warn them before the project begins. Nothing worse that a client asking to deep dive a particular respondent and finding they don't want to be paid a visit!

6) Decide how much content you need. Are you making a film for your client as an output? How many video entries a day would you need. We suggest, for a typical project (I know there is no such thing), 3-4 entries a day with 1-2 being video entries. Any more and people may start thinking too hard about what they can capture for you. Killing any semblance of naturalism.

Generating themes (tasks and questions)

1) If you don't want to bias respondents towards a particular, brand, service or activity you will need to disguise it. Disguise by stating additional brands/categories that you need them to capture for you.

2) Have a mix of continuous themes - across the duration of the study and one-off themes to keep respondents engaged. Note you can change themes easily in your project, 'manage project themes' and the changes will sync automatically on every respondent's device.

3) We recommend a maximum of 10 and ideally 6 themes at any one time. These can be tasks and questions. But keep them to one (seven word) sentence long where possible. You can also use a single word, e.g 'snacking'. (Note people will be reading your themes on their devices (against which to capture their entries) and the fewer lines to read the better.)

4) Themes are locked down - respondents cannot add to them. So we suggest always having a additional theme called 'other'. This way, if they want to send an entry which doesn't obviously match one of your themes, they can still send it to a theme bucket, albeit a general one.

5) Tags can be created by respondents and should be used to add detail/context to the themes they have selected.

6) With both themes and tags it is fine to select more than one from each.

Final check before launch
1) Be sure to allow yourself a day or two between being ready to start your project and actually starting your project. Use this time to ask each and every respondent to send you a few entries. You might even set a simple introductory task.

2) Sometimes people don't realise how weak their Wifi is until they try sending a video. It's worth identifying and troubleshooting these people before the project starts.

Post fieldwork

1) This is a great time for deep dives with the best of the rest. Which ever 'online researchers' you are going to visit, delete their emails in 'manage project people' and add them again as 'offline researchers'. This way you can use your device to capture entries of the respondents, as the respondents themselves. Confused? All this means is that you can still filter by respondent names and see your entries of them under their names.

Please feel free to call any of us if you would like help with any stage of your project. Our aim is your 100% success!


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