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Etnoraid foto

Etnoraid is an ethnographic method used to study people’s cultural behaviour. Through observation and interviews the everyday behaviour of a target group is studied. The method might also be used to study a physical environment, a service or other situations.

The combination of interviews and observations makes it possible to study both people’s everyday experiences, as they perceive them, and observe other influences that we as human beings might not pay attention to.

Etnoraid is especially suitable if time is limited and you need to form an impression of a target group or an environment. Etnoraids are ideal if you want to start out by approaching a project in an explorative manner or make a strategic decision during a project.


The students choose an environment and a target group they want to study further and spend 2-5 hours on the fieldwork. They can work independently or in groups. The following guide might be adjusted to the specific course.

Time: 2-5 hours

Location: University, urban spaces, festivals, conferences


  • Short interviews of 5-10 minutes duration
  • 10-20 informants
  • Interviews are based on a short interview guide with room for spontaneity depending on the informant’s answers
  • The informants are interviewed without having made an appointment beforehand. This ensures spontaneity.
  • Semi-structured interviews work well on their own, but short workshop methods or displaying of images during the interviews might also be added as methods.


  • Interviews combined with observations in order to get a picture of the target group’s behaviour within the environment they frequent.
  • The observations might be of specific informants or of an environment


  • Photography, video recordings, sound recordings, field notes

Afterwards the students collect their data from documentation and analyse the material. They might analyse their material by identifying patterns and building up personas.

Using images and quotes is a good way to present the insights gained from an etnoraid.

Worth Considering

It is important that the students observe and analyse with an open mind, but at the same time they should avoid overanalysing as that might block out important insights.
Etnoraids can be arranged as a series, meaning that several etnoraids are carried out during a short period of time or that follow up etnoraids are done during the length of a specific project. It is possible to combine etnoraids with other qualitative methods such as the User Journey, the Qualitative Interview or Photo Safari.


Interview guide: Make a semi-structured interview overview of the most important themes you wish to study. The etnoraid is not a vox pop and as such the questions should be open.

Observation guide: Make an observation overview concerning the most important things you wish to study. Since etnoraids only take short time you do not have time to observe everything and therefore the observations need to have a focus.

Materials for documentation: Pen and paper, camera and perhaps a voice recorder (a smart phone is able to do job of recording and taking pictures).

If you are doing etnoraids within a private space you might need to make arrangements beforehand.



Hughes, John et al 1994, Moving out from the control room: ethnography in system design, Lancaster University, Computing Department
Knoblauch, Hubert 2005, Focused Ethnography. Forum: Qualitative Social Research
Mills og Ratcliffe 2012, After method? Ethnography in the knowledge economy, Qualitative Research
O’dell, Tom og Willim, Robert 2011, Composing Ethnography, Ethnologia Europaea
Pink, Sarah og Morgan, Jennie 2013, Short-Term Ethnography: Intense Routes to Knowing, Symbolic Interaction

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