Back to the Facility: Here’s What You Need for Ethnographic In-Person and Hybrid Research

Louise Principe
Mar 12, 2024

As we depart from the COVID era, we’re seeing a gradual shift back to the facility. For market researchers, this means the return to in-person. 

While online research has its merits, nothing beats the insights you can glean from a good, old-fashioned, face-to-face discussion. Ethnographic studies benefit from this approach because you can immerse yourself in your participants’ natural environments. 

With the right streaming and recording tool, you can capture verbal and non-verbal cues that would otherwise be difficult to spot in a fully remote setup. But what exactly does the “ideal” streaming and recording tool do?

In this blog, we outline the most valuable capabilities to look out for in an in-person solution to enhance your ethnographic research.

What is Hybrid Research?

Hybrid research combines participants located remotely or at the research facility in a single session. In an ethnographic study, this may involve a respondent testing out a product remotely in their natural habitat while the moderator, research team, and observers are viewing the session at the facility. 

A live and on-demand stream offers an immersive experience wherein you can easily view, probe, and ask questions as if you’re beside the respondent.

What Features are Important in an In-Person Solution?

Hybrid Model 

Hybrid solutions that seamlessly integrate in-facility and remote participants are a step above your usual recording and streaming tools. While mobile ethnography research uses smartphones to collect data, a hybrid model lets you conduct live video interviews or focus groups where in-facility participants interact effortlessly with remote participants, moderators, and observers. 

This flexibility helps expand your reach and open up new avenues for diverse perspectives, enriching your ethnographic research with a global perspective.

HD 360° with Active Talker 

Losing track of the conversation, having multiple people talking over each other, or missing key points are common discussion issues that aren’t unheard of in a focus group setting. In ethnographic research, this could hold you back from getting a deeper understanding of your participant’s interactions.  

To prevent these issues from happening in your in-person or hybrid study, a solution that offers a 360° HD panoramic view lets you observe the entire in-facility setting in detail. Simultaneously, an active talker feature ensures you never miss a beat in the conversation by highlighting the current speaker. 

This dual perspective improves the depth of your analysis, giving you crucial insights into your target audience.

Multiple Camera Angles 

Ethnographic research typically involves observing participants using a product in their natural environment. As such, you might need to record multiple viewpoints of the product in action. 

Having cameras that capture different angles of your sessions helps you see every aspect of your research participants' reactions and behaviors. Furthermore, pan-tilt-zoom cameras can record and stream the ethnographic session for remote moderators and viewers to observe in real-time without being physically present. 


Most of the time, ethnography is conducted in places located outside of your typical research facility. Some examples include homes, offices, stores, or even inside cars. Given the many places this research method can be done, having a solution that can be easily transported and set up is crucial. 

A compact, plug-and-play solution designed for in-facility and remote settings lets you conduct ethnographic research anytime, anywhere. With this qualitative research platform, you can explore various research environments knowing that your recording and streaming setup can be deployed within minutes. 

Tech Checks and Monitoring 

Technology hiccups such as difficulties logging in, recording quality issues, or wrong device settings can disrupt the flow of your research. Should any of these issues happen, having a dedicated team on standby to troubleshoot ensures that your technology functions smoothly throughout your research project. 

Before your IDI or focus group discussion, they can conduct thorough tech checks on all devices involved in your study and monitor your sessions for you in real-time. This allows you to focus on extracting valuable insights while someone else handles the technology.

Nationally and Globally Available 

Whether you’re gathering ethnographic data locally or if you wish to get a more global perspective, your research tools should know no bounds. Some restech services offer a well-established network of facility partners that span the globe, all equipped with advanced recording and streaming technology.

No matter where your research is conducted, a nationally and globally available solution ensures you collect consistent, high-quality qualitative data while backed by a global infrastructure you can rely on.

Conduct Ethnographic In-Person Or Hybrid Research Anywhere With CCam® focus  

CCam® focus is a state-of-the-art recording and streaming solution for in-person and hybrid focus groups that captures views of individual respondents as they each share their thoughts. The result is a more robust perspective on what individual respondents think and more dynamic material to display in presentations and reports. The CCam team provides full-service tech support throughout each session. CCam technology can be used in any focus group facility, as well as plug-and-play in any location where you need it.

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