Cultural Analysis

I am a cultural anthropologist experienced in all qualitative methodologies: ethnographies, store observations, shop-alongs, focus groups, diary studies, usability studies and personal interviews. As a bilingual-bicultural professional, I conduct research in both English and Spanish.

I like finding patterns, especially the ones that are invisible because they are hidden in the daily rituals and practices of everyday life.  Like my theory, my method of analysis is also Geertzian.   This means that I interpret the lived experience of consumers and users using symbolic analysis, textual analysis, nested interpretation, holism and hermeneutics. 

I am an interpreter of consumer culture. I enjoy the intellectual challenge of digging to find the nuanced meanings consumers give to objects and habits.  My strength is finding insights that are specifically focused on my client’s research objectives.

Some of my previous projects include exploring notions of desire and scent with young women (creative messaging for men’s body spray). I have gone beer shopping with young Mexican-Americans men in California to understanding the meaning of beer (branded retail strategy). I spent time observing life in the kitchens of Mexican families to understand the relationship between food, cooking, and cultural identity (appliance product development). I tagged along on test drives for cars to understand how people shop (decision making modeling). I spent afternoons with low income elders in Central Texas asking about the meaning of health (messaging strategy for Medicaid programs).  I have stood in bathrooms and watched women show me their how they apply makeup (meaning of beauty for brand development).  

Reflections on digital ethnography

As the proliferation of digital media is expanding media theory, new digital platforms are also creating opportunities for new methods. Here is my evaluation of Robert Kozinets’ netnography, a “new” ethnographic method that is conducted over the internet and is designed to study cultures and communities online.




Fieldwork Images 

Ethnographic research in Miami



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In-home concept testing with the whole family.



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Focus groups in San Francisco



Focus group moderator essentials:  Discussion guide, interview schedule, clock, and Diet Coke.

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