All of Empatika’s research adopts a people-centred and participatory approach where study participants are the ‘experts’ and our researchers are learners. We believe it is vital that people themselves also shape the research process and findings. All of our research is guided by the principles of immersion research, such as informality, interacting in ordinary daily life, first-hand experience, taking an iterative approach, and constantly reflecting on our positionality as researchers.
Immersion research is a qualitative approach involving trained researchers living with people in their own homes including those of service providers and sharing in their everyday lives. This relaxed approach of informally ‘hanging out’ with families and other community members enables easy and open conversations as well as first-hand experience and observation of daily life, providing unique insights into how context shapes the processes, motivations, behaviours and attitudes of people.
Participatory Focus Group Discussions (pFGDs)
Our approach to pFGDs builds on the tools and ideas from immersions and other participatory qualitative methods we have used. We intentionally try to move away from the traditional question-and-answer format to a more participatory form where interactive hands-on exercises, visuals, photos, drawings, written, or drama-based elements are used to seed discussion to gain insights into the lives of study participants.
Transformative Digital storytelling is digital media production that allows people to share their life story. Using mixed media including video, animation, photos, drawings and audio, storytellers themselves present their ideas in short multi-media digital presentations. These stories provide powerful insights from first person perspectives.
People Driven Design | HCD
Empatika takes the concept of human-centered design or Co-Design a step further to make explicit that people (the users) are engaged directly in identifying their own challenges, setting goals and developing their own ideas to facilitate positive change. Our approach, people-driven design (PDD), helps people develop processes and products that can support positive change in their communities.
Mixed Methods Research
Our qualitative expertise can help ‘humanize’ quantitative insights, providing an in-depth interpretative lens and opportunities for rich contextual analysis. In addition, we offer integrated mixed methods approaches, where the research design can optimize opportunities for the study tools, sequencing, and analysis to complement one another. Our qualitative experience also helps enhance the relevance, appropriateness, and sensitivity of the quantitative tools.