Like many people in these times of cost saving, I have lost my sense of humor. Why? Because what constitutes reasonable economizingdetermining what costs are or are not optionalreveals some curious assessments of value. I am referring to human-centered research and the peculiar assumption that qualitative research methodslike qualitative interviewing and ethnographically inspired fieldworkare too expensive to use in the design process during lean times. There are plenty of companies willing to jump in and offer cut-rate services, but, as in all of life, one should be aware that "you get what you pay for." Timothy de Waal Malefyt's…
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