Back in March, we highlighted the ‘audience panel’ method as a way of turning research into a partnership between your audiences and your institution. Another method well-suited to the participatory era — and one we’re using more these days — is ethnography.
Survey research, focus groups, and traditional interviews involve asking people questions and analyzing their responses. But what if they’re not fully conscious of the thoughts, feelings, and needs that guide their choices? With ethnography, we observe how audiences actually live their lives and how they experience your offerings: how they interact with a performance, an exhibition, a campus environment or alumni event. And how they interact with each other.
This month, for example, we’re beginning an ethnographic study for Chicago’s Museums in the Park consortium about how young adults think and feel about museums. Slover Linett researchers will be out in the neighborhoods in coffee shops and bars, observing as well as talking to Millennials about how museum-going could become more valuable to them and their friends.
Stay tuned for updates about that project and other new studies in the cultural sector and higher ed. Meanwhile, we’re proud to welcome several new clients since our last newsletter, including Stanford University, UCLA Anderson School of Management, San Francisco Opera, the Field Museum, and the Arts & Business Council of Chicago on behalf of the city’s arts service organizations.
Speaking of welcomes, we’re thrilled to announce two new members of the Slover Linett team: Karlene Hanko, PhD, who just joined the firm as a research analyst, and Jennifer Mack, who’ll be starting next month as a research assistant. It’s a summer of growth, change, and staff promotions (don't miss the news and blog posts, below), and colleagues like you are the reason it’s all happening.
— The Slover Linett team