How mobile ethnographic Research enabled our client to understand the student Discovery journey and path to purchase for selecting a University.

Our client was a leading player in the market research field. They were experts in gathering consumer insights and gathering data for a wide array of industries. But when they approached us here at Indeemo, they were in the midst of understanding something a little different.

They had been approached by a leading university, who were finding it increasingly difficult to understand students motivations and preferences. Attracting the very best academics from schools across the country was becoming increasingly more challenging. They were confident that they still offered a premium academic experience, but they needed to know what else potential students sought from higher education.


The Challenge

Whilst open-days and school visits were great ways for the university to reach potential entrants, it was hard to know what they needed to tell students about. It’s no secret that young peoples goals and aspirations have changed significantly over the past decade. Whilst education was once seen as as academic pursuit leading to a steady career, it has morphed into a more all-encompassing experience that goes far beyond books and libraries. Facilities, extra-curricular clubs and societies and campus cultures are just some of the extra considerations for school-leavers.

But understanding these demands and expectations was problematic for our client. As such, all students have different needs and desires that play into their choice of university. Our client needed to gain a real-life insight into the the lives of these school-leavers to really understand their needs. Because these students were of a different generation to our clients researchers, it was even more difficult to make an accurate assessment of their needs, values and motivations. Therefore, I client needed to embed themselves within the lives of these students to really understand what attracted them to particular universities.

The Goals


Our clients objectives were to:

  • Understand the future goals and worries of school-leaving aged students

  • Understand what motivated school-leavers university selection choices

  • Understand how a university would better cater to the needs and demands of students


The Solution


Using a week-in-the-life ethnography study, we helped to place our client amongst a group of school-leavers in the last two years of their school education. The study included 16 respondents, using a scheduled task list to get various insights into young students lives throughout the week. Using Indeemo, they were able to understand what mattered most to them and how and why they choose certain universities.

Using our intuitive, familiar social-media styled app, these students were given and noninvasive tool to capture their weekly routine and relay their personal stories. Because the app mirrors an Instagram or Pinterest that they would ordinarily use, they clearly felt much more comfortable in giving authentic, in the moment feedback. Being comfortable with technology and being accustomed sharing everyday moments meant that Indeemo’s app served as the perfect medium for the project.


Whilst students demands for sports and recreational facilities, online-centred tutoring and career-guidance support emerged as common themes amongst students, it wasn’t the only important thing our client learned. Young students had many concerns about how university would prepare them for a world. Many school-leavers had worries and concerns ranging from environmental to political. What became to our client was that they needed to be seen to understand these issues and proactively work to be seen as progressive when it came to such issues.

If your looking to understand more about how your educational institution can use a week-in-the-life to understand students, please get in touch using the form below.

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We’ve supported researchers trying to understand the path to purchase for everything from smartphones to domestic appliances to cars to hotels to garage doors and aquarium filtration systems!

The one thing they all have in common is that the journey is non-linear, random and omni-platform.

If you’d like to discuss how we might be able to support your next project, please submit your details here and we will be in touch ASAP.

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