Now that my UNT MS Applied Anthropology degree has officially been conferred, I am going to begin sharing information on my UNT anthropology thesis.

To accomplish this, I am going to be posting many articles over the next few weeks that breakout key sections of my thesis into bitesize chunks suitable for a blog format.

Following this, I plan to extend the conversation in a popular way to make the topics of Direct-To-Consumer Genomics (DTCG) and design anthropology more approachable, because both DTCG and design anthropology are critically important at this moment in time. The former because of its amazing potential to help and harm humanity, the latter for its ability to call attention to the opportunities and threats that DTCG may thrust upon us.

About my UNT Anthropology Thesis

My UNT anthropology thesis was titled An Ethnography Of Direct-To-Consumer Genomics (DTCG): Design Anthropology Insights For The Product Management Of A Disruptive Innovation. It was an exploration of the DTCG market from a design anthropology perspective.

As part of it, I conducted remote ethnographic research with consumers who have previously used DTCG genealogical tests, and those who have used DTCG health tests through Sequencing.com. The data was collected through qualitative research sessions that involved phone-based semi-structured interviews for genealogical consumers and screen sharing-based interviews and observations for Sequencing.com users. The data was coded using thematic analysis and analyzed in the context of theories from anthropology, sociology, communication, and information systems that have been used historically to understand the diffusion and adoption process. The theoretical frameworks and models leveraged in this study include, but are not limited to, the Diffusion of Innovations Theory, the Technology Acceptance Model, communication flow models, and theories related to disruptive innovations.

The qualitative data was mapped to these theories to specifically understand the beliefs, attitudes, behavioral intentions, and other motivating factors that influenced adoption. The theories were also leveraged to gauge other dimensions of the diffusion and adoption process as it relates to perceived usefulness, ease of use, and risk. Furthermore, the research sought to build on these findings by defining the persona of current adopters. Finally, the research sought to identify gaps in the product offering, with the objective of developing some potential features for a product roadmap.

The goal of these objectives was to produce actionable ethnographically informed insights that Sequencing.com can use to define their target market and create a whole product concept, that is mutually beneficial to their business model, as well the consumers that adopt the innovation.

Learn More About Design Anthropology

If you want to learn more about design anthropology, check out these articles: