Case Study:

Hitting a Six on a Deep-Dive Ethnography

Read this ethnographic market research case study to find out how we enabled our client to achieve in-depth results in their project. With just two respondents and extremely specific criteria, this was a great one to get stuck into!

Green sports stadium chairs in rows, representing Angelfish Fieldwork's ethnographic market research case study
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The Client

A global insight agency working on behalf of a top online booking agency.

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The Objective

To investigate people’s thoughts, opinions and behaviours around a particular sport

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The Methodology

Deep Dive Ethnography, including constant filming and meetings throughout the day

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The Duration

One day

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The Incentive

£100 for attending the live match, £150 for watching and hosting the event from home

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Our Participants

Two fans of a particular sport

N1 = White British
N2 = of Pakistani origin


For this project, our client wanted to investigate people’s thoughts, opinions and behaviours about a particular sport with an intense, deep-dive ethnographic study.

Read on to discover how we pulled out all the stops to ensure that we found the perfect two participants out of our 50,000+ strong community and a carefully crafted social media campaign to help our client get the results they were after!


Who was the client?

Our Client, a global insight agency based in London and New York City, working with us on behalf of a well-known online booking agency.

And what was their goal?

To explore the feelings, attitudes, opinions and behaviours of those who were fans of a specific sport.

What challenges did we face? 

Specific participant criteria

One of the biggest challenges with this particular project was how to select the best two participants. The first respondent needed to be White British, a moderate fan of the sport (while not being their favourite particularly, it had to be something they felt they had a good knowledge about), attending a specific event. The second respondent needed to be of Pakistani origin, and watching a sporting event from home on a certain day.

What’s more, the second respondent needed to be hosting family and friends to watch the event, and they needed to be comfortable within all their interactions being filmed as well!

As well as this, the first respondent would be required to take part in several one-on-one interviews, including a breakfast interview, filming their reaction as they entered the event, and a couple of meetups throughout the day during breaks to see how they were feeling during the event.

The researchers also wanted to talk to the respondent’s friends who were attending the event to gather deeper insights. The second participant was required to be filmed and observed at various stages throughout the day too as part of their in-home interview.

Some other essential quotas the participants had to hit included the following:

  • Booking travel online in the last 12 months, with the intention of doing so within the next 12 months, too.
  • Using online travel agents for their travel planning (and not offline with a traditional travel agent)
  • Booking travel elements separately (as opposed to booking an online package deal) or being open to doing so in the future.
  • Using a variety of online travel agents interchangeably
  • Being aware of the end client, and not be rejectors of the brand
  • A mix of life stages and socio-economic status
  • Not working in marketing, market research, travel, media or journalism
  • Being able to demonstrate ability to think conceptually and creatively

In summary, the criteria were very specific – and we needed to be completely sure we’d made the right decisions!

Strict quotas

The quotas were pretty strict, and because there was only a small sample size, this made recruitment tricky. Because of the unique nature of this project, we needed to make sure we put the best possible respondents in front of our client – and there was only one chance to get it right!

On the other hand, we needed to make sure that, once selected, the participants were fully briefed on what to expect on the day.

With a lot of different elements taking place throughout both days, there were a lot of components that needed to come together to ensure the study went off without a hitch.


The Angelfish twist...

At Angelfish, we’re not ones to shy away from a challenge, so we were super excited to get started with this one! To ensure this project succeeded, we:

Began with a rigorous briefing process

We made sure we really understood our client’s needs so that we could give them expert advice on how to tackle the tricky recruitment for this project and ensure they got the results they needed.

Our strong relationship-building and problem-solving skills did us proud here! When we were ready to get started with recruitment, we used a range of techniques to make sure no stone was left unturned.

Crafted a successful social media recruitment campaign

Without a doubt, one of the most successful recruitment techniques was our highly targeted social media campaign, which reached out to people with an interest in this particular sport and specific sporting events.

Thanks to a clever combination of engaging content, standout images and smart targeting, we were able to really drill down into the demographic and find our first participant.

Something Powerful

Scoured through our Angelfish Opinions Community

For the second respondent, our fully verified, opt-in community was the key to success. We needed to find someone who was not only a fan of the sport in question but was also hosting family and friends for a specific sporting event.

Luckily, we found just the right participant in our 50,000+-strong panel!

Conducted a thorough screening and validation process

Once we’d selected our potential participants, we also spent a good amount of time screening them and getting to know them over the phone.

Expert validation was vital in this ethnographic market research study; because they would be spending such a large amount of time with the client, it was important that we were confident they were the right people for the job!

Clearly briefed the participants

We also made sure we gained consent from each respondent before going through our confirmation process, where we ensured everyone knew exactly what was expected of them, so they were fully briefed and ready to go on the day.

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The results 

We were really pleased with the results of this one. Firstly, our client was super happy with the project and the participants we found – in fact, they got all the results they needed, and more!

In addition, the participants were both really pleased and really enjoyed the experience too, so it was happy faces all around!

Key takeaways 

Kick-start the process with an in-depth briefing – this will ensure that everyone involved is clear on the research objectives from the get-go.

Use a range of different recruitment techniques – this will enable you to widen your scope for specific quotas.

Implement a thorough validation process – by doing so, you can be sure your chosen participants are spot on for the research

Be sure your participants are fully briefed – the more they know in advance, the more prepared and comfortable on the day of the research

What next?

By choosing to work with Angelfish for your qualitative market research recruitment – whether you’re looking to do fieldwork like the one in this ethnographic market research case study or something else entirely – you'll be partnering with an experienced and results-driven team who will be with you at every step of the process. We’ll help with everything from decisions on demographics to sample size suggestions and more, implementing a strong partnership right from the word go!