Person Specification: Ethnographer

Requesting @nadia @alberto @noemi @johncoate to read, edit, and approve this so I can finalise and disseminate it. Multi-lingual ethnographic coding role specification:

The NGI Forward project, part of the topic Next Generation Internet - An Open Internet Initiative is a EC Horizon 2020 project focused on developing a more human-centric Internet: supporting values of openness, cooperation across borders, decentralisation, inclusiveness and protection of privacy, as well as giving users the ability to help create an Internet they trust. We are focused on understanding people’s own perspectives on the Internet and desired futures for it to inform long term strategies and policies. We intend to convene a large online conversation in which people discuss these issues, performing continuous ethnographic analysis on it.

We are looking to hire two or more ethnographers to collaborate with us on this project. This would run for about two years on a part-time basis (approximately 20% of your time). We think it would suit graduate students well, who might re-use the work for a thesis or papers (everything is open access), but we will consider any applicant. We have a total budget of about 57,600 Euro (the equivalent of one full time person). Depending on candidates, time commitment, and language capability, we can split this between 2-4 people.


  • Trained in the theory and practice of ethnography.
  • Comfortable performing online ethnography.
  • Experience with qualitative data analysis, specifically qualitative coding. The software is unimportant as we have our own, which you will be trained to use.
  • Ability to collaborate with other ethnographers coding the same dataset in different languages.
  • Flexibility and willingness to engage in productive dialogue around coding decisions— good communication skills are a must.
  • Strong organization skills – must be available for weekly check-ins and document coding choices in a shared open codebook.
  • Good knowledge of English as well as fluency in one or more of the following languages: French, German, Italian, Polish.


  • Code the conversations, using a tool we built in-house called Open Ethnographer.
  • Build an ontology of relevant codes, appropriate to ethnographic coding of the online conversation, and keep a detailed and organized codebook.
  • Collaborate with other ethnographers to maintain a consistent multi-language coding ontology.
  • Help to compile an ethnographic report at the conclusion of the project.
  • Participate in the discussion towards improving both Open Ethnographer and the SSNA methodology.

The kind of qualitative coding we do has an added element to it: we use the codes to build a social semantic network, mixing ethnography and network science to produce a visualisation of the convened conversation. Thanks to the ethnography, the network visualisation shows not only who is talking to each other (the social network), but also what they are talking about (the semantic network, built from ethnographic codes). This method of inquiry preserves the richness of conversation but provides a higher-level view and allows for some quantitative analyses. With social semantic network analysis (SSNA), we can identify networks of codes, and measure their cohesiveness; identify emergent networks of specialists, who interact around specific keywords; and validate individual contributors, among other applications (to learn more, see here).

As part of the role, you can also use the ethnographic/SSNA data to produce publications. In fact, we would encourage you to.


You can do the work online, from wherever you are, but you will be requested to participate in one or more physical meetings. Your travel expenses for these meetings will be covered.
If you happen to be in Brussels or Stockholm, you can also come work at the Reef or Blivande (our workspaces), but that’s not a requisite. We coordinate and communicate through the Edgeryders platform.

Must be available to attend a full-day practical interview/training in Brussels (expenses paid) in early April 2019. More hands-on fun with the method than an interrogatory experience, so don’t stress.

How to apply

Write to Include:

  • A short motivation letter, explaining why you want to do this and why you think you can deliver.
  • A CV.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received until openings are filled.

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Works for me (done some minor reformatting). But here’s a funny thing: your image shows correctly in my notification email, but not on the platform… @matthias, do you know why?

Also, @amelia, I suggest you include a deadline. If you do not want one, indicate that it’s “first come, first served”.

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It looks formatted ok to me on the platform…

Do you mean to say something like “now edges can carry information…”? Or maybe something to make the sentence a bit more clear.

Thanks John. Clearer now?


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just removed anything jargon-y altogether :slight_smile:

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Since it’s showing ok for John and me in all the places, it is probably browser cache issue on your side. In Chrome, try Shift + click on the reload button to also reload all the cache.

If that does not help, try in a different browser. If it’s fixed there, it will be the cache for sure. If it’s still not fixed, please observe if it also happen when logged out. So we have a way to identify the issue :slight_smile:

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Ok added a deadline

I’m thinking of positioning the training as a final round interview type situation— thoughts? That way we see what they are like in person and how they do with the coding. Editing spec, tell me what you think

@johncoate @noemi

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Oh that would be great!! but then some might need to pay for their travels.

Anyway, good work - if we get it out asap we could actually recruit by March 20th or something, and meet in Brussels in April. That leaves 3 weeks for recruitment, and more for last minute treasure finding :-))

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So they could get a free training out of it but might not get the job…some might go for it.

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Can we also add Blivande here? There is desk space available for Edgeryders, and I’ll be doing the outreach and events for NGI from here.


yes, done!

Ok! I’m ready to disseminate unless anyone has final edits or objections @johncoate @noemi @alberto

No objections, though I do wonder why you did not indicate a fee…

As in, what they’ll be paid? I didn’t include it because it’s variable depending on how many people we get and how much time they’ll allocate to the project. Suggestions about how to formulate/phrase the salary would be welcome… could do a possible range

Well, you did write 10-20% FTE. This should be adequate. Maye reformulate like this.

We are looking to hire two or more ethnographers to collaborate with us on this project. This would run for about two years on a part-time basis (10-20% of your time). We offer adequate fees, whose exact amount depends on specifics.

I turned it into an approximate hourly rate so that people are aware of what the pay is approximately (and that it’s a competitive/attractive rate). Thoughts?

Don’t recommend that at all. Lower risks for us when paying by deliverable than per hour.

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ok. makes sense.

Do feel/agree that some approximation would be helpful.