What is Ethnography?
Context : People|
Context-Based Research Group is an ethnographic research and consulting firm
located in Baltimore, MD with a global network of cultural anthropologists located
around the world. Professional anthropologists Robbie Blinkoff,
Ph.D. and Belinda
Blinkoff, MA, ABD created Context in partnership with Chuck
Donofrio, the President
and CEO of Carton Donofrio Partners, Inc., an international brand experience
design firm also located in Baltimore.
Robbie Blinkoff, PhD - Principal Anthropologist and Managing Partner
Robbie is an ethnographer and anthropologist and has overseen operations at Context since founding the company in 1999.
Robbie works with the team to create research designs that lead to breakthrough insights and solutions.
Under Robbie's direction, Context has worked with clients such as: American Express, Adobe Systems Inc.,
Campbell's, Procter & Gamble, Kodak, General Motors, Kimberly-Clark, Fisher-Price, Sony, Microsoft, Kraft Foods,
Oscar Mayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Herman Miller and Nike.
In addition to Context's extensive client work, Robbie has guided several proprietary studies that have helped define
American and international culture. Recently, he led a study on consumer behavior in relation to the economic meltdown.
The report, entitled, "Grounding the American Dream: A Cultural Study on the Future of Consumerism in a Changing Economy,"
explores the cultural shift occurring as a result of the downturn. Other proprietary Context studies include work on 9/11
and its impact on our culture, a study on wireless behavior entitled: "The Mobiles: Social Evolution in a Wireless Society,"
and a study on China entitled "The China Middle: Coming of Age in Consumerism."
In 2003, Robbie was identified by Fast Company magazine as one of its prestigious "Fast 50" innovators,
people who are changing the way business is done.
His insights into consumer behavior have appeared on the CBS News and the CBS Early Show and
in Inc., Wired, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Newsday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
The Philadelphia Enquirer, and many other publications.
An experienced speaker, Robbie recently presented at Sun Microsystems Brand Summit and gave the keynote address
to Adobe Systems Global Marketing Conference in Napa Valley. He's also addressed Universal Pictures on the relationship
between consumer trends and the entertainment industry; chaired and spoke at the International Institute for Research's
symposium on New Ethnographic Methods; and was a key presenter at Yahoo!'s "Born to be Wired" Conference.
He holds a doctorate in anthropology from Rutgers University, where his dissertation focused on ideas of
ownership among hunter-gatherers in Papua New Guinea and teaches courses on ethnography at the University of Baltimore and Goucher College.
Belinda Blinkoff, MA, ABD - Principal Anthropologist and Managing Partner
Belinda leads design and analysis for Context projects and oversees management
of Context's anthropologist network. Belinda is currently on leave to take care
of Shayna and Max - Belinda and Robbie's two children.
An experienced researcher, Belinda has conducted research in Papua New Guinea,
Newfoundland, and across the Mid-Atlantic states. Her dissertation work in Papua
New Guinea examines ideas of modernity and development and how they have influenced
individual and group identity in the region. While there, Belinda and Robbie
helped the Sokamin (the group they lived and worked with) develop a community-based
management plan for the wildlife preserve located in their territory. The Wildlife
Conservation Society (commonly known as the Bronx Zoo) and Conservation International
supported this work.
Belinda is currently working on her PhD and holds a master's degree in anthropology
from the University of Kentucky. Belinda's undergraduate degree (a B.S. in anthropology
with a biology minor) is from East Carolina University.
Cleve Corlett - Director of Quantitative Research
Cleve has spent over 20 years directing marketing research, strategic planning, and brand development efforts
for new and existing products and services to ensure that marketing communication efforts have the greatest
impact on the target audience. He has studied and practiced both quantitative and qualitative marketing research
methodologies, enabling him to identify the best methods to discover new consumer insights for clients.
He began his association with Context in 2005, and has conducted research projects for Adobe, Oscar Mayer,
Playworld Systems, Army National Guard, University of Maryland University College, Walden University,
National Association of REALTORS®, American Institute of Architects, and other clients.
Prior to forming Brand Planning, his own market research and consulting firm, Cleve was the Director of Account Planning
for the Washington, DC office of Arnold Worldwide, a division of Paris-based Havas, the 4th largest global agency network.
He guided all account planning and brand development efforts for more than 50 brands, including Choice Hotels International,
McDonald's, Sallie Mae, PNC Financial Services, ExxonMobil, The Washington Post, Dominion Energy, Eskimo Pie, CORT furniture,
STIHL tools, BearingPoint, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Virginia Lottery and others.
Before joining Arnold Worldwide, Cleve was the Manager of Research for Universal Pictures in Los Angeles,
and held a similar position at the Virginia Lottery. In both positions, he was responsible for all consumer
research for launching and marketing new products. Cleve began his career in the research department of Young & Rubicam.
His doctorate from the University of Iowa in mass communication specialized in statistical analysis,
research design, the psychology of persuasion and the behavioral effects of mass communication.
Cleve also has an MA in mass communication (TV and film production and writing) from Loyola Marymount University,
Fatima Touma - Project Manager
As Project Manager at Context, Fatima is responsible for overseeing each and every project, from recruitment through fielding. She also contributes to the design of research methodologies - in-depth interviewing, observation or shadowing, behavior and relationship mapping, and self-expression exercises - and conducts field research. She collaborates with the research team to analyze the research findings and develop business implications for product development and marketing clients. She has managed projects with Google, AARP, FedEx, State Farm and Filene Research Institute.
Fatima's work before joining Context focused primarily on refugees. She interned at a non-profit organization that aimed to support survivors of armed conflict and violence. There she researched and presented findings on the current refugee population in the United States to help provide them with the support they require. Fatima has also conducted independent ethnographic research that examined the lives of recently resettled Iraqi refugees in Baltimore, Maryland.
Fatima holds a Bachelors degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, along with a minor in Mathematics.