Understanding Single-Use Plastic (SUP) during COVID-19 lockdown through digital ethnographic research


  • Erika Marlene Cortes Posgrado de Diseño Industrial UNAM
  • Pamela Garduño Lara
  • David Molina Mora
  • Ricardo Serrano Ayvar


Design Ethnographic Futures, Digital Ethnography, Ethnographic Research, Lockdown, Single-Use Plastics


How do people’s interaction and behaviour change in a world where social contact is suddenly limited? How does ethnographic research change and adapt to new interaction rules? What can we discover through it? During the COVID-19 lockdown, we identified an extensive opportunity for digital ethnography (DE) to explore the evolving social worlds. As the starting point, this research aimed to inquire into the daily use of single-use plastics (SUP) consumption and disposal amongst the community that occupies UNAM’s Posgraduate Unit through the design and application of a set of ethnographic analogic and participative tools. However, the COVID-19 world pandemic detoured our initial research plan and turned it into DE research. This shift required a change of theoretical contents into the comprehension and implementation of DE to rethink the field research. This article registers the adaptation of an ongoing project because of a disruptive event like a pandemic; through it, we want to share our experiences of using DE as a qualitative approach, insights about our project process and our predictive perspective about the growing problem we are facing with SUP.




How to Cite

Cortes, E. M., Garduño Lara, P. ., Molina Mora, D., & Serrano Ayvar, R. (2021). Understanding Single-Use Plastic (SUP) during COVID-19 lockdown through digital ethnographic research. DISCERN: International Journal of Design for Social Change, Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 2(1), 29-45. Retrieved from https://www.designforsocialchange.org/journal/index.php/DISCERN-J/article/view/44