We work directly with people

At Ethnologica, we collaborate to understand how policies, structures and programs impact our lives. We engage clients in a shared process of knowledge-building which allows programmatic strengths to emerge along with concrete strategies for growth. Our hands-on approach increases communication between constituents and ensures that many voices are valued in the research findings.


Passion from the ground up

We conduct community-based research and needs assessment to understand how particular social phenomenon impact people. For instance, what kind of playground will best serve a neighborhood; how does a housing development affect communities who reside there; how can a program best meet the needs of single parents; what are the human rights implications of drug policy on minors who use drugs in Vietnam.

Our researchers work alongside people.  We believe that cultural equity and change-making can happen through processes of mutual accountability.

our comprehensive services include


Qualitative, COLLABORATIVE & Arts-Based RESEARCH

Along with traditional research methods such as interviews, focus groups and surveys, we use sensory and arts-based research methods such as photo voice and photo elicitation, social and cultural asset mapping, video production, drawing and journaling, story-telling and oral history. We recently collaborated with Fairmount Park Conservancy to create a socio-cultural curriculum for a youth photo camp that included peer interviewing and media roundtables.

We are ethnographers, interested in immersing ourselves in any given project to learn as much as we can about what shapes peoples' experiences and how we can collaborate to best represent and understand these experiences.  We help organizations develop new metrics and tactics to increase civic leadership and risk-taking.


Community engagement & cultural storytelling

We develop community engagement strategies and work with entities who are looking to gather input and perspectives from various community members to inform programs, policies and new initiatives, as well as to strengthen or deepen their own community-based work.  We create strategies that are non-extractive, and that honor the time, expertise and experience of various communities and that stress the diversity that exists within communities.  We conduct community-based oral history and cultural asset mapping projects.

For example, we work with socially engaged art and humanities platforms that use creative engagement tactics to address histories of marginalization or discrimination, increase community input in neighborhood development and create new avenues for civic participation.  We have worked with Cohabitation Strategies, Scribe Video, the Mural Arts Program and Amber Art and Design to gather oral histories and community perspectives and map assets to inform events, outreach and policy.  We currently work with the Mutter Museum to develop community outreach and engagement strategies for exhibition and participatory art programming.

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We collaborate with clients in developing and implementing research and evaluation tools to discover how well programs are working, and to propose ways to improve them so that their programming reflects the needs and perspectives of their clientele. 

We work with clients to implement findings and to build sustainable and innovative social programs. We also provide technical assistance to build an organization's ability to monitor the progress of their programs and to evaluate their results.  We currently work with the RiverWays Philadelphia (Bartram’s Garden, Independence Seaport Museum, Glen Foerd on the Delaware, Philadelphia Waterborne, and Urban Promise) to assess their on-the-water youth programming and with Miles for Migraines to assess their educational programming.



We partner with researchers and practitioners at leading medical institutions, departments of local government, Ministries of Health and international organizations such as UNICEF, Jefferson University HospitalUniversity of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to answer pressing social questions. We assist in mixed methods research design, data collection and data analysis for large-scale projects.  We provide social research and policy analysis to help organizations understand a social issue or concern and to learn ‘best practices,’ and how other agencies are best addressing the same or similar concerns. For example, we worked with healthcare practitioners in three provinces in Cambodia to understand current provision of care for sexually or physically abused children. Knowing practitioners' "starting point" helped us develop a handbook outlining treatment approaches that would resonate with them, and at the same time would enable them to embrace international best practices as they provide care for abused children.

We also provide guidance for programmatic and curricular development.  This can take the form of literature or desk reviews, memos, staff trainings or fully developed curriculum.