Ethnographic Research for Effective Data Utilization | Design Research
The value of information sharing and data technologies is becoming increasingly popular in development work, however even some of the most impactful development donors and agencies can struggle to know the precise ways in which operationalizing data and technology use can improve international development results at scale.
The purpose of this project was to conduct ethnographic research to surface organizational needs, incentives, and constraints in integrating data and technology into development programs. We engaged in an intensive ethnographic-driven design research project in order to support USAID’s Global Development Lab (GDL) in developing strategies to better leverage digital technologies in the Agency’s work worldwide.
Throughout this project, we developed synthesis frameworks like large scale user personas, activity maps, and information flow diagrams to understand structural, upstream barriers to effective data use within development work. Research surfaced critical data utilization opportunities for ICT programing and more effective program management.
Partners: Reboot, USAID, The Global Development Lab, FHI360
Photography by Lauren Weinstein. Project content and image property of Reboot.
User personas (both collaborative, large-scale and refined, small-scale) were developed to identify key information use barriers and opportunities for different actors, surfacing new insights for program managers on how to use data in project monitoring.