Ethnographic smartphones: not a panacea

Kid tapping smartphone GIF

Self reporting using mobile technology has been all the rage for the last couple of years. A camera in every pocket has proved an opportunity too good to refuse for data hungry researchers.

We embrace the technology. It would be churlish not to. However our experience is that smartphone self-reporting is far from a stand alone solution. The quantity of data produced is considerable, it needs careful sorting and the relevance understood; ultimately it needs curation. As a foundation pre-task smartphones open opportunities into understanding that are unparalleled, but that data then needs to be qualified otherwise more questions are raised than answered.

[animated gif by Brad Jonas]