I have recently been doing a research that involved focus-group, interview, observation and lastly a survey as data gathering and analysis of user behavioral, emotions, experience. I have read and understood what empathy means and concluded on my report the findings of what patients' feel, see, hear and do.

My question is : which method suits the above description and why :

  1. Ethnography.
  2. Action Research.
  • Please give us more details on the domain. What do you want to research exactly? How much empaty patients show to doctors or to technology ? Please, give more details. Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 10:00
  • 1
    Research about : The use of behavioral strategies to change patient's behavioral and attitude towards healthy eating. Areas of interest : User-centered design, Consumer health technology, cultural-relevant design. To find: pain-points, activity, experience, emotions, behavioral and psychological aspects of patients. I did a comprehensive literature about the topic, found the problem, state the objectives. The demographic study was conducted and learned about the target-audiences and other methods were conducted " including meeting with dietitians and other specialists". Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 10:20
  • Very cool research topic!! Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


Ethnography traditionally involves long-term observations of a culture, and Action Research is understood as when you want to invite research into your actual project.

I think for your research environment setup, especially if you have a specific project, demographic study, focus group, etc., you are leaning towards Action Research instead of Ethnography.

  • Thank you Wen .My question would be : Which is suited for empathy approach " Action research or Ethnography " ? Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 14:27
  • I think empathic research approach incorporate applied ethnography more than action research (for example, observation,interview,and conversation with real people) (see this article is your need more details ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575059).
    – Wen G
    Commented Jul 25, 2016 at 15:19
  • Thank you Wen. I have read that research before. I also did interview, observation, conversation and focus group. Based on what I read the most suited is EAR "Ethnograhpy action research". :) Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 4:07

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