Serial Hanging Out: Rapid Ethnographic Needs Assessment in Rural Settings

  • Jaspal S. Sandhu
  • P. Altankhuyag
  • D. Amarsaikhan
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4550)


This paper presents an ethnographic method for assessing user needs in designing for rural settings. “Serial Hanging Out” consists of short-term participant observation with multiple, independent informants. The method is characterized by: (1) its short-term nature, (2) the use of participant observation supported by specific field techniques, and (3) the emphasis on user needs for design. It is discussed in relation to similar methodological work in associated fields. To ground the discussion, the method is presented in the context of ongoing work to develop improved information systems to support rural health workers in Mongolia.


participant observation ethnography design qualitative methods user needs rural Mongolia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaspal S. Sandhu
    • 1
  • P. Altankhuyag
    • 2
  • D. Amarsaikhan
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Engineering, University of California, BerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Asian Development Bank, Ministry of HealthMongolia
  3. 3.Postgraduate Institute, Health Sciences University of Mongolia 

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