EthnoAlly is a digital tool that explores the potential of smartphones and smartphone apps as tools for conducting fieldwork. EthnoAlly is a result of the cooperation between the CyberParks Partners University of Antwerp - Belgium - Faculty of Social Sciences / Visual and Digital Cultures Research Center (ViDi), and the Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao - Spain.
Together both partner developed this tool, which assists social scientists in conducting participatory audio-visual ethnographic research. A personal field ‘ally’ consisting of a smartphone application and a devoted web platform, EthnoAlly assists the researcher in the act of taking and organizing multimodal field notes. It also helps in the creation of participatory instances of audio-visual research, allowing in particular for the creation of diaries from a distance, i.e. in situations where the presence of the ethnographer may be impossible or critical.
The (first stage of) development of EthnoAlly was made possible by a grant awarded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). Both partners are presently searching for funding for further developments.
EthnoAlly has been presented in a number of international conferences, workshop and seminars. Articles on the tool are presently under review by a number of journals in social sciences and engineering.