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Ethnography and Market Research

The Ethnography Lab is pleased to welcome Dr. Barbara McGrath to speak about ethnographic methods in the context of market research.

Join us in the Ethnography Lab Seminar Room, located in the Anthropology Building, room 330, on Friday, February 12th, 5-6pm for a stimulating discussion.

BarbaraMcGrath 2015More than a decade ago, the ethnographic method started to get noticed in the field of market research. Market research is research with a specific purpose: To help companies better understand their current and prospective customers, to inform the design of new products or services and to improve the marketing of existing ones. ‘Ethnography’ or ‘anthropology’ has come to be known as a qualitative research tool that can give deeper insights than standard qualitative methods such as focus group discussions. However, the use of ethnography has remained limited, because of its time-and-cost-intensive nature. More recently, a new form of ‘ethnography without an observer’, also known as self-ethnography, has become popular.

Dr. Barbara McGrath will explain the methods of ethnography and self-ethnography in the market research context, their benefits and drawbacks, compared to other market research tools, and the types of market research questions where ethnography can be most useful. In addition to discussing ethnography as a method, she will also touch on employment opportunities for anthropologists in the market research field.

Speaker: Barbara McGrath, PhD in Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany; Creative Research Designs, Healthcare market research, Toronto

This event is part of the Ethnography Lab Speaker Series, which features talented speakers who share their insights and experience about ethnography. Housed in the University of Toronto Department of Anthropology, the Ethnography Lab strives to encourage dynamic discussion and experimentation with the various ways in which ethnography is practiced and imagined. This year we will host speakers from a variety of different backgrounds and departments to inspire the most interesting conversations about the dynamic research and writing method that is ethnography.

This series is FREE and OPEN to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Contact Jessika Tremblay at for more information.


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