Looking for ethnography in design research through three decades

Çelikoğlu Ö., Hamarat M.

DESIGN JOURNAL, vol.25, no.4, pp.556-576, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14606925.2022.2081304
  • Journal Name: DESIGN JOURNAL
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, ABI/INFORM, Art Source, Design & Applied Arts Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.556-576
  • Keywords: Design research, research methods, ethnography, industrial design, ANTHROPOLOGY
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Ethnographic methods are widely used in design research and provide valuable data for gaining in-depth understanding of any particular situation. To broaden the use of ethnography in design research, first, we investigated how ethnography and design research are related in the last 36 years by focusing on which ethnographic methods are utilized; why and in which domains of design research these methods are applied and, how these three aspects relate to each other altogether. Through content analyses we found meaningful associations between methods, goals and domains of application. Our research identifies gaps on theoretical, methodological and contextual implications. Based on these gaps we propose particular opportunities for future research.