Honolulu, Hawai‘i October 9-12
East-West Center

Submission deadline is March 30!

How is evidence created, used, and abused? The EPIC2018 theme is Evidence, conceptualized in the broadest sense. We’ll focus on methods both new and tried-and-true, the changing types of evidence that are now possible, and how to make a case with evidence in a challenging social environment.

The program committee invites proposals for Papers, Case Studies, PechaKuchaFilm/Animation, and Gallery presentations that address evidence creation, use, and abuse. (Salons and Tutorials will be part of the EPIC2018 program, but organized by invitation.) We are also extending a special invitation to data and computer scientists, and ethnographer + data/computer scientist collaborators.

Most contributions should draw on theoretical advances in ethnographically informed social science research and aligned disciplines, coupled with applied best practices from professional fields. They should show new directions for creating knowledge and making change. We welcome contributions from any discipline, industry, or organization in the private, public, or nonprofit sectors that creates and applies ethnography.

A special invitation to data scientists and ethnography/data-science collaborators:

This year we will facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation between ethnography and data science. EPIC2018 will be a unique opportunity for ethnography/data-science teams to present and extend their work jointly—so we encourage teams to submit!

We also extend a special invitation to data and computer scientists who are curious about ethnography and the possibility of engaging with sociocultural researchers to submit their own Case Study and Gallery proposals. You might be a data scientist with an interesting social or cultural dilemma to share, or a software engineer with some observations about how your own biases shape how you do your work. You might even have a data visualization that you would like ethnographers to explore more deeply with you. Submissions from data and computer scientists in Case Studies and Gallery will be evaluated according to their overall clarity and relevance to the social and cultural issues that affect an organization’s customers, stakeholders, workers, and societies more broadly. They will not be evaluated on their ability to build on social scientific debates. If you wish for your submission to be considered in this manner, please add the tag “DataSci” at the top of your proposal.

If you are a data scientist interested in participating in EPIC2018 but don’t yet have materials appropriate for publication, please contact us at conference@epicpeople.org. We’d love to hear from you as we plan the more interactive parts of the program.

Key Dates

  • Submission deadline – March 30, 2018
  • Acceptance notification – June 8, 2018
  • First draft submission – July 13, 2018
  • Final submissions – September 14, 2018

Rules & Review Process

Individuals are permitted to submit only a single proposal (Paper, Case Study, PechaKucha, or Film/Animation) as author or co-author, so please focus your efforts on your strongest single proposal. Leaders of Tutorials and Salons may also submit a proposal in another category. People submitting to the Gallery are welcome to submit an additional proposal to another track.

Paper proposals go through a double-blind peer review process overseen by the independent Paper Committee. Case Studies, PechaKucha, Film/Animation, and Gallery submissions are juried (blind) by committee.

EPIC prides itself on a high standard of written and presented material and session curators work closely with authors and presenters to develop their work. Authors of accepted submissions are expected to agree to a series of deadlines for submission of draft versions of their presentations and published texts. Before submitting a proposal, we recommend that all authors ensure they have the time and interest to engage in this process and can secure all permissions required to write for publication. At least one co-author must register for and attend EPIC2018 to present their work.

Papers and Case Studies will be published in the open-access journal Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings (ISSN 1559-8918) and in the EPIC library on epicpeople.org, for which purpose all co-authors are required to sign an author agreement. All presenters and Tutorial instructors must sign media agreements that allow EPIC to video record conference events and share video on epicpeople.org.

Specific guidelines for each submission format are detailed below.

Papers

We invite papers that advance ethnography in business by presenting new developments in ethnographic research that emphasize the interplay between theory and practice. Papers should use the extended essay format to: expand our community’s knowledge base of contexts and offers; reflect constructively on theoretical concerns; or present methodological advances. In addition to submitting a written paper for publication, authors will prepare and deliver a 10–15 minute presentation at EPIC2018.

Priority will be given to papers that directly address the EPIC2018 theme Evidence. Your paper might broadly address the social nature of evidence, a new or emerging method and the questions it raises about evidence, or the intersection between data science and ethnography. Teams of collaborating ethnographers and data scientists are particularly welcome.

We encourage papers from authors in diverse disciplines!

General Requirements for Papers

  • Papers must draw on ethnographic research and theory. They may offer a novel synthesis and/or original fieldwork. The research can also involve other methods, but the paper must advance ethnographic practice, concepts, or theory in some way.
  • Papers must go beyond reporting a single project’s findings. They must demonstrate the links between new insights and ongoing debates in ways that will advance our field. (Case Studies may be based on single projects.)
  • Papers must build on the work of others, referencing other projects, concepts, or data sources (published or unpublished).

What Goes in Your Paper Proposal

To be considered, proposals must include all of the following elements in one PDF or MS Word document:

  • Title
  • Abstract of 750 words maximum (not including references). Please ensure that your abstract identifies the main argument, your ethnographic sources (whether original research or a critical review of others) and key insights (what a reader will gain from your paper).
  • 1-page outline demonstrating the anticipated order of your paper’s main points
  • A sample passage, 500 words maximum (not including references). This could be a section of the introduction, a methods section, or a particularly juicy ethnographic description that might fall in the middle of the paper. We are looking a writing sample that helps us understand why a reader would want to read your paper.
  • List of references to other relevant literature, research, or data sources from which the paper will draw.

How to Submit Your Paper Proposal

  • To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity of any co-authors within the proposal document itself (you will enter this information separately in the submission process)
  • Submit your proposal to: new.precisionconference.com/epic
Additional guidelines for developing, formatting, and delivering final papers and conference presentations will be provided to authors whose proposals are accepted.

Questions? Papers@epicpeople.org

Case Studies

We invite case study proposals from ethnographers, data/computer scientists, and teams, with somewhat different requirements for data/computer science submissions.

For ethnographers:

Cases serve as real-world examples for fellow practitioners, academics, or students of how ethnographic methods are used to address a specific product, service, project, or organizational issue. An EPIC case study typically accounts for the “who, what, when, why, and how” of situations where a researcher informs a challenge in a concrete business, not-for-profit, or social context. It describes the final outcomes achieved through such applied research. Case studies of instructive challenges and failures are especially encouraged. Please read two brief blog posts about EPIC case studies, here and here.

For data and computer scientists:

When you share your work alongside ethnographers, we can have more informed discussions about collaboration among data scientists and ethnographers. We can also lay the groundwork for interdisciplinary and cross-functional engagements that could result in delivering new kinds of value for people and organizations in the future. The committee does not expect you to write an ethnography, or have carefully recorded all of the qualitative evidence you see around you in the way that an ethnographer normally would. Instead, we invite you to illustrate the “who, what, when, why, and how” of how evidence is made and used in your professional worlds, with particular emphasis on the implicit and explicit biases and agendas you have to navigate.

You might, for example, observe that in the course of your work it became clear to you that the validation techniques you employed, sufficient in prior domains of study, systematically miss particular data quality issues or business relevant data trends. Or you might have been involved in a debate about whether a data point was an outlier or a signal, and on reflection you came to understand that that debate was really a proxy for something social and/or financial (e.g., bonus calculations). We are not interested in tales of individual personalities (“and then so and so joined the team and they would only publish positive results”)—we are interested in thorough descriptions of real, concrete dilemmas that you face, and how you work through those dilemmas as a person with a certain set of skills, housed in an organization in a particular way, and also as a person with a gender, ethnicity, class, and other intersecting dimensions of identity. These will help us jointly have a more grounded discussion about the social implications of data science than is commonly seen in the media.

Some tips for writing for an ethnographic audience
  • Write for a thoughtful but non-technical audience. Where possible, define your terms and avoid discipline-specific shorthand. Help people without a computer science background better appreciate why you use the methods that you do in a particular context. You are welcome to use extensive footnoting to provide technical detail for readers with computational backgrounds.
  • Ethnographers value appropriate use of the first person. This is because ethnography creates evidence in part by clarifying how our own position in life affects what we see when we attempt to understand other people. Your case study might say something like, “first I tried this out, and that made me realize something else, and that generated these other discussions, and then I collected some other data as a result.”
  • Include observations about how you are situated in the process, and how that makes some things possible but other things impossible. For example, you might note any blind spots that on retrospect were paths not taken, or organizational constraints that meant that something interesting in the data could not be pursued.
  • Consider the best way of protecting those implicated in your story, while also enabling the broader research community to understand the underlying issue. Ethnographers often use pseudonyms for individual research participants, names of towns, organizations, and other revealing details that do not affect the central argument, but could affect the parties involved.

General Requirements for Case Studies

You can submit a decision-making case or descriptive/analytical case. Case studies can showcase cutting edge methods, unique combinations of methods, or new attempts at approaches that worked—or didn’t work at all—in a particular situation. They can show how an organization was changed through research, or how an organization’s institutional structure neutralized any change efforts. Priority will be given to those case studies that address the conference theme Evidence.

Case studies are especially valuable when they go under the hood to describe complexities, challenges, and even failures—not just straightforward paths to success. As the EPIC Board has asserted, “while it is nice to celebrate our successes and tell interesting narrative case studies, we only push our practice and knowledge forward by dissecting that which fails and that which we do not understand.” Promotions of companies, services, or products are not appropriate for Case Study proposals. Cases need to present completed engagements, not early-stage or work-in-progress activities.

Some examples of EPIC Case Studies:

In addition to submitting the written case study for publication, authors will prepare and deliver a 10–15 minute presentation at EPIC2018

What Goes in Your Case Study Proposal

Proposals must include the following elements in one PDF or MS Word document:

  • Title
  • Abstract of 500 words maximum (not including references)
  • 1-page outline demonstrating the anticipated order of your case study’s main points
  • A sample passage, 500 words maximum (not including references). This could be a draft introduction, a description of the situation that might fall in the middle of the final text, a description of the research method used, or something else. We are looking for a writing sample that helps us understand why a reader would want to read your case study.
  • Description of sources: Specify the methods and materials the case is drawing on (approx 100 words).
  • List of references to the relevant literature, research, and data sources from which your case draws

How to Submit Your Case Study Proposal

  • To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity or affiliations of any co-authors within the proposal document itself (you will enter this information separately in the submission process)
  • Submit your proposal to: https://new.precisionconference.com/epic
Additional guidelines for developing, formatting, and delivering final case studies and conference presentations will be provided to authors whose proposals are accepted.

Questions? CaseStudies@epicpeople.org

Powered by PechaKucha

PechaKucha (pronounced “peh-cha-ku-cha”) presentations are a rapid-fire performance of 20 image-rich slides. Each slide shows for exactly 20 seconds before automatically moving to the next. Total presentation time is 6 minutes, 40 seconds. PechaKuchas are performance poetry with visual punch.

EPIC PechaKuchas may not be mini project debriefs (stuffed with findings and results). Rather, they should tell a compelling, relevant story by expanding outward from a single research moment, insight or study participant; or taking on a compelling concept or theme across different studies, field sites, even whole careers. Here is your chance to make research visually and verbally lyrical.

Here’s an example of a PechaKucha that has the kind of impact and style the 2018 committee is looking for: Paul Ratliff, Collateral Revelation

What Goes in Your PechaKucha Proposal

Proposals must include the following elements in one MS PowerPoint or PDF document:

  • PechaKucha title
  • A brief summary of your overall story, 200 words maximum
  • A draft PechaKucha presentation with 20 slides and draft performance script (bullet points acceptable) for each slide. Images in the proposal should be low–medium resolution.

How to Submit Your PechaKucha Proposal

  • To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity or affiliations of any co-authors within the proposal document itself (you will enter this information separately in the submission process)
  • Please be kind to our reviewers and do not submit large documents or high-resolution images. Low–medium resolution images are sufficient at this stage and will not affect the evaluation of your proposal!
  • Submit your proposal to: https://new.precisionconference.com/epic
Questions? PechaKucha@epicpeople.org

Film/Animation

Visual approaches have long been part of ethnographic work, and films are increasingly requested as a deliverable. Last year our inaugural ethnographic film session sparked critical discussion about how these works are constructed and read. This year we will continue that discussion of film as an evidentiary form. Film/Animation will showcase forays in visual research and storytelling by screening examples and discussing the limits and possibilities of the moving image.

What Goes in Your Film/Animation Proposal

Proposals must include the following elements in one MS Word or PDF document:

  • Title
  • Synopsis (150 words maximum)
  • Context description: describe the context of production and screening, and how this piece speaks to the visual ethnography oeuvre and advances our understanding of film as an evidentiary form, and whether you are submitting a trailer or a final cut (500 words maximum).
  • A link to a 5–7 minute trailer of your film if your film is a work in progress, or a final cut of no more than 15 minutes. The film can be hosted anywhere online. The link to your trailer or film must contain no identifying information. An easy way to do this in Google Drive is to use the link under “Share” that says “anyone with this link can…” Note that the final version should be approximately 10–15 minutes long (exact length to be determined on acceptance).
How to Submit Your Film/Animation Proposal

  • To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity or affiliations of any co-authors within the synopsis, short contextual description, or the link you use to the trailer (you will enter this information separately in the submission process). We realize that fully anonymizing a film that could include your voice or face might be more difficult than a written piece. Please make as much of a good faith effort as is feasible.
  • Submit your proposal to: https://new.precisionconference.com/epic

Questions? Film@epicpeople.org

Gallery

Evidence can come in many forms. From design artifacts, data visualizations, interactive pieces, photographic collages, or even installations, the Gallery will display examples of the many possible forms of evidence. We welcome submissions in any medium that plays or could play a role in ethnography in some way. It might be an artifact that comes out of ethnographic research processes, or a prototype, cultural probe, or a critical making piece that raises ethnographic questions. It could be a design that directly emerged from an ethnographic study. It could also be a data visualization that raises more questions than it answers. We welcome work from artists, designers, and data visualizers, as well as work that is not expressly “artistic” at all. It might simply be an artifact encountered during fieldwork with an interesting story to tell, or a puzzling data visualization. It might also be an object that creates new evidence, such Faulkner’s and Ainsworth’s Video Confession Booth.

In keeping with this year’s goal of facilitating dialogue between data science and ethnography, we also welcome non-traditional data visualizations that have a human story to tell, or raise a social or cultural issue in a humanistic way. Some artworks that use data in a somewhat ethnographic way that might get you thinking (but should not limit your thinking!) are:

Display space will be available for two or three-dimensional work. We will provide electrical power on request, and Internet connectivity will be available at the level one ordinarily sees at conferences (i.e., not to be relied upon for high-bandwidth needs). Other special requests will be resolved on a case-by-case basis. The exact space available depends in part on the number of submissions. If you have a very large or complicated installation to share, please indicate in your proposal whether you would also consider showing an interesting photographic or video representation in the event that space becomes a constraint.

What Goes in Your Gallery Proposal

Proposals must include the following elements in one PDF, MS Word, or MS PPT document:

  • Title
  • Image (photo, sketch, etc) of your proposed work. The work does not have to be in its final form, but the draft should fully communicate the concept. If you’re unable to submit a low–medium resolution version in your proposal document, please instead provide a link to a version hosted anywhere online. The link should contain no identifying information. An easy way to do this in Google Drive is to use the link under “Share” that says “anyone with this link can…”
  • Synopsis: what is your work trying to accomplish? (150 words maximum)
  • Short description of the context surrounding the work and its relationship to ethnography. Computer or data scientists are welcome to submit work that does not come out of ethnographic research, but prompts a question that could be answered ethnographically, or otherwise raises a social or cultural issue (500 words maximum).
  • Short description of the anticipated display dimensions and any other technical requirements (150 words maximum). Please note that we will be displaying work in an ordinary conference venue, and space might be at a premium. It could be difficult to make accommodations other than power, basic Internet connectivity, and space. If your work is particularly large or has other requirements, tell us about any options that would allow you to work around any limitations we might encounter.

How to Submit Your Gallery Proposal

  • To facilitate blind peer review, do not name or reference the identity or affiliations of any co-authors within the proposal document itself (you will enter this information separately in the submission process).
  • Please be kind to your reviewer and do not submit large documents or high-resolution images. Low–medium resolution images are sufficient at this stage and will not affect the evaluation of your proposal!
  • Submit your proposal to: https://new.precisionconference.com/epic
Questions? Gallery@epicpeople.org