Hi All, Please join us tomorrow for the last Change Seminar of the quarter. Ted McCarthy will be joining us to discuses a concept he is calling "micro-ethnography" and how important it is to user design and research - particular in an ICTD context. In this seminar Ted will discuses how the ability to "just watch something" should be given the respect it deserves in academic research, undergrad and graduate coursework, industry research job postings and resumes, and beyond.
*What: *Learning to Observe: Making (Micro-) Ethnography Great Again *Who: *Ted McCarthy *When: *Tuesday May 30 *Where: *12pm in CSE 203 *Short Description:* "Ethnography" is a term sparingly used in technology research these days, and for good reason: to some of us, it may sound "fluffy", and to others, intimidating. For many, the term itself evokes images of overly-bearded Indian Jones-types "going native" on remote Pacific islands, and there's a seemingly-pervasive fear that to say "I do ethnography" is to invite criticism from anyone who "really" does ethnography. And while terms like "rapid ethnography" have been bandied about to overcome some of these hurdles, that process itself is generally described as a *process; *it's usually something referred to as taking up days or weeks, not seconds or minutes interspersed throughout a day in the field. But it doesn't have to be this way! I argue for the reinstatement and rethought of the value of observation, a long-neglected tool in the qualitative researcher's toolbelt. What I'm calling "micro-ethnography" is especially valuable in international development contexts, where other research methods, like interviews and surveys, fall short under the dual constraints of language and cultural differences. The ability and desire to *just watch something* is increasingly rare in our rapidly accelerating world, but it's as important as ever, and should be given the respect it deserves in academic research, undergrad and graduate coursework, industry research job postings and resumes, and beyond. We'll look as a variety of examples from journalism, literature, documentary filmmaking, and more to tease out lessons from these diverse fields with an aim to improve our own work. *Bio:* Ted McCarthy is a user researcher who has worked on early-stage projects in "emerging markets" for the past several years, having apparently now drunk the industry kool-aid and adopted its parlance. He's spent the last ~1.5 years contracting with Google to conduct research on several hardware & software network products related to internet speed & access in developing countries, and before that was a UX consultant in healthcare and beyond. Ted spent several years in academia at the universities of Michigan and Washington, where he worked on accessibility and health projects in developing countries. He now lives in San Francisco, where he dearly misses Seattle's gorgeous mountains and delicious beers, but in no way its rain.
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