Qualitative researcher

The window of social sustainability

An ethnographic research conducted in Trentino (Italy) in summer 2008 with the purpose of mapping the cultural context where a Sustainable Connected Home prototype would be implemented in 2010.

The method adopted was basically ethnographic: Firstly, a series of interview were conducted in collaboration with a team the CeaQ in Zambana (Italy) from the 8th to the 12th of June 2009; 31 people have been interviewed, 17 woman and 14 men, of the age between 19 and 70 of which 10 in a municipal room and 21 in their house and outside or in the principle bar of the village, a meeting place situated in the town centre near the most important buildings of the place (the school, the church, the town hall) . For this first phase a qualitative research method with an open and semi structured questionnaire has been used.

Secondly, more in depth interviews were conducted in July 2009 directly in the respondents’ houses, were the behaviors that were part of their everyday lives could be discussed in order to elaborate the relation between energy, garbage, water saving and consumption.

This analysis presents and interprets the tendencies appeared during the ethnographical research, considering the condition of the observed context and the theoretical board examined to study the phenomenon. The work has been conducted in accordance to the methods of the participant observation and the visual sociology, integrating the use of the photographic tool. The interviews aimed to map the relation among people and houses, the use of space, with a specific focus on three themes:
• the perception of the sustainability and ecology issues,
• the relation with the house,
• the use of space;
The results here presented question the qualitative research findings from a design point of view trying to:
• understand how to support and inform the design of a house and in this specific case study the development of the prototype of the Sustainable Connected Home
• investigate the meaning of sustainability when related to the social realm

see the presentation!