Very happy to announce that we did our prize draw today morning, and we have our winners. The draw was done at CARET, and witnessed by our lovely administrator Stephanie Saunders.
Here are the winners:
Personal Reading and Book Diaries:
1st prize (choice of Amazon Kindle or same value book tokens)
- Caitlin Wylie (History of Science)
2nd prizes (£30 Amazon vouchers)
- Alexandra Day (English)
- Bethany Megson (Cassics)
- Sylvia Christie (English)
- Sarah Wandler (ASNC-PhD)
- Samantha Mullender (Natural Sciences - Bio)
1st prize (choice of Amazon Kindle or same value book tokens)
- Alireza Tabatabaie (Education)
Congratulations to all of you and thanks very much for participating in the project - you are all awesome.
Yes - well, almost. Last Friday I presented the initial findings and ideas to Anne Jarvis (UL Librarian), John Naughton (Arcadia project director), John Norman (Head of IT at UL and CARET), and Patricia Killiard (Head fo Electronic Services at UL). The initial response and feedback was very positive, so I am hyper excited by the prospect of setting things into motion and start actually creating some awesome things.
At the moment I am working on creating the final artefacts, to publish them here and share all findings and ideas. Tomorrow I will also arrange the drawing of the prizes, so stay tuned and watch this space!
After coming back from the Christmas break, I started the design phase of the project. Actually most of the times I think, there is a bit of a mystery and magic around transforming user research data into usable designs. My hand wanted to grab a pen a draw boxes on paper, thinking of zillions of ideas and features which would help people do things better. But again, my brain disagreed and luckily managed to hold this back, as I felt that I am jumping ahead too quickly, cutting corners.
The first thing I needed to do was to get all the things which I have learnt out of my head. The great people at Head London design agency helped me a lot in this, and together we found an easy and understandable process to start shaping understanding into useful solutions. As a first step we wrote up all of the key findings on post-its and prioritised them on a huge wall. An example of such a post-it would be: “The large group of students have problems accessing required readings”. This was an extremely useful activity, which forced me to spell out findings and making sure that I can communicate those to people outside of the project. The next step wast to formulate design goals, based on the prioritised findings. This is actually a hard task to do, since a lot of the times, people would naturally formulate “pseudo” design goals which are actually not design goals at all, but rather an attribute of the system we are trying to create. Very useful to understand the difference, and being able to formulate unique and relevant design problems is crucial. We ended up with 5-6 very good design goals like “How do we help avoid book shortages?”, which served as a basis for the next activity: ideation.
The reason behind clear design problems is not only being able to articulate and communicate. They serve as starting points and triggers for ideas, which tries to solve a given design problem. The way we approached was to have a large number of ideas solving each of the design problems, in the form of user journeys, which had to contain an actor, an object and a goal. Expressing ideas this way, almost like simple cartoon strips, encourages designers to think of user flows rather than individual features or functionality. Features are assembled by disseminating, combining and evaluating all these flows. Once features are there, through a prioritisation activity we can start drawing a bird’s eye view of the system, and mapping out how different features connect, to best support the design goals and the user journeys. This is when my brain is comfortable with drawing, and this is where finally sketching of individula screens can begin.
Another interesting thing which I managed to get a better understanding in with the help of Head, is the ability to communicate design findings. They showed me a number of different ways to visualise complex relations and complex data. Very useful. I realise that without pictures this is dry and unimpressive, but please bear with me, I will make all this more visual once the design phase is completed and the final artefacts are made which is very close now.
Since the last post was in December before breaking for Christmas I will try to briefly summarise what happened since I conducted the hangout sessions and the library visits.
I have spent most of the time before the Christmas break on analysing all the data which came in through the interviews, diaries, the focus focus group and the hangouts. This was no easy task, since I have a lot of data. I listened to all of the interviews again, and made notes off all what the students said, following my usual “Life”, “Actions”, “Discovery”, “Organisation”, “Social” and “Technology” themes and sorting all the information according to these. Then I looked at all of the diaries, and created a cleaner digital version of each, visually drawing out all of the reading activities, categorising them and counting all of the durations. This also enabled me to create easy to read accounts of reading activities for each diary, with some basic quantifiable data. Since I did 4 hangout sessions, 8 interviews, numerous library visits, and armed with all what I experienced working at a library, I already understood quite a lot about reader behaviour and motivations, but the diary study data addd some depth and quantifiable validation to those assumptions. As a final validation step I organised an online survey which actually just started a couple of days ago, with the view to validate my overall assumptions and reach a wider audience with my questions. Thanks to Google Forms, the data from this can be easily disseminated and I am receiving a good number of free text inputs, describing real life problems and experiences around reading. By the time I went away for Christmas, my head was already full of experiences and understanding and a warm fuzzy feeling of assurance, since I knew all this stuff comes from actual people doing things in real life.
Last week (-2 days holiday) and this week I spent organising and conducting “hangout” sessions. A hangout session is spending time with a student, shadowing his/her activities for about half a day and observing how people read and do related activities such as note taking, searching etc… These sessions proved to be one of the most data rich experiences, and I feel I have learnt a tremendous amount, even though I only had 4 sessions so far. The ability to observe in context and have the opportunity to clarify things soon after an action proved to be very valuable and brought up many issues which I am starting to try to consolidate in my head and on paper. I did a bit less interviews and hangout sessions than initially planned, but now I am actually glad that I still have a few incentives available: I can use those at design stage to get some feedback on prototypes and sketches.
As the data from the diaries comes in (which has started now) and as I process all the incoming information so far, I would like to start organising for the validation survey. This is tricky for various reasons: students are mainly at home at this time of the year (although they can participate online) and the analysis phase of the project is closing in shortly next week. My aim is to have a preliminary online survey set up by the end of this week, and with luck publish it next week when I started to make sense of the available data. This way the survey will not be a standalone probe, but would build organically on the top of all the data gathered so far, validating assumptions which are already formulating in my head. The survey probably will run in parallel with the design stage to allow wider student participation.
This week I also plan to visit some departmental libraries to get a sense of variety and understand some of the issues around physical spaces. Another thing which is in progress is organising 2 days in the design phase at a commercial design company, allowing me to bounce off ideas with other user experience and information architecture professionals, which I think will be very valuable - he ability to creatively challenge a piece of work like this is very important I think.
I realise that I haven’t been doing very well on keeping up with my weekly whacky posts, the reason is that I simply had no time to think about things like that in the past few weeks. I am hoping now that the observation period is coming to an end this will change.
Last week was very busy, but extremely productive. My head is full of fresh experiences, and a LOT of data which I am trying to let sink in. I am consciously making an effort not to get bogged down with details at the moment, and keep a fairly high level eye on everything. Here is a short account on what I have been through the last week, adding some thoughts along the way.
Last week I finished all the planned interviews, managing to speak to 8 students. Luckily I had access to a diverse crowd and the amount of things I managed to uncover is pretty good. My approach here was to have semi-structured discussions, meaning the conversation touched on a number of base topics such as Discovery, Organisation, Actions, Daily life, Technology, Emotions and Social interactions, but was not pre-scripted allowing to organically explore the topics with the participants. Each interview was recorded, so that I will be able to spend more time making notes of them during the analysis phase of the project, and allowing me to spend only a little time after each interview gathering my thoughts and impressions.
The first things which struck me as I went ahead with the interviews is that students are extremely helpful and accommodating when they see how a piece of research can impact their daily life. For me this yet again proves that the student community is more than willing to engage with activities like this, we just simply don’t tend to take advantage of this incredible resource often enough. However I made a mistake when planning the project: the amount of time needed to organise the interviews and the physical location of the interviews meant that my library observation had to be constantly interrupted. I vastly underestimated the lead in and out time around the interviews and the amount of time needed just to maintain email correspondence with students. Next time I know that these two activities can not be done in parallel.
Last Thursday (Dec 1) we held a 2 hour long focus group with 5 students. I had 7 students signed up, but 2 had to drop out due to university commitments. Again this proved to be an excellent way of finding out more about experiences, desires and values. The first part of the focus group was spent on moderated discussion around the base topics mentioned above. Then we split into 2 groups and embarked on a mission to construct a robot and fairy which would serve in a library. The activity was really fun, and the general feedback was very positive. We concluded the session with a short discussion on technology and the students sent messages in a bottle for future students on reading. For this activity I asked my colleague Anne-Sophie to help me out with note taking. She used the wall of the room to take notes on post-it notes and organise them in real-time according to the base topics, and differentiating between who said what. We ended up with an almost full wall (5m) of organised notes, and the standard voice recording of the whole session.
On Friday I had my first “hangout” session with a Philosophy/Psychology student at the Trinity library. This was one of the most “data rich” experiences in the project so far, the amount of detail you can capture just spending informal time with a student is astonishing. She gave me a tour of the library and then she went on to do what she would normally do in the library, with me shadowing her in the background and peeking over her shoulder to her screen. During the session she was very helpful and offered clear explanations on why she is doing certain activities. Definitely one of the highlights so far, and one of the best use of the £30 Amazon vouchers so far.
Besides all the above, I worked at the English Faculty Library when I had time, and observed what’s going on. This was quite fragmented, but still managed to make quite a bit of notes and now I can see some patterns/regulars which wouldn’t have seen otherwise. As I said earlier, next time I will not plan observation and other major activities on the same week as it is impossible to do them well, however I was somewhat forced considering how close the end of term is (was).
This week I will continue with hangouts, and gradually switch over to focusing more on visiting more libraries and doing more observations. At some point I will also need to start thinking about the things I learnt and start to construct an online validation survey for my assumptions. Luckily there are still students here and the library is still not empty…
I’ve been pretty quiet in the last couple of days, since things started to speed up, and soft planning of the previous week turned into more focused preparation with more tangible outcomes. Since things are progressing on multiple fronts here is a little rundown of each individual pursuit:
Where to start? What to ask first? Substance vs. method
My main takeaway from the 1st planning week was that whilst I started to feel immersed more and more in the world of student reading, and I felt that I did quite a bit of background reading, I simply still didn’t know what to ask from students. I felt that I am ahead with methodology and I have a clear picture of how I want to do things and why, but I still missed the substance, the core set of questions that I would like to ask and know more about. This didn’t necessarily meant that I couldn’t think of questions to ask, on the contrary: I had too many of them, covering too many topics. After thinking about it for a while I had concluded that I needed a higher level approach than individual questions, and so themes were born. I wrote down all the initial questions that I could think of, getting them out as quickly as I could and grouped them according to what would be the most appropriate method to ask it. After this exercise I ended up with a long list of questions organsed into several tracks. I grouped the similar ones (with sort of an affinity mapping, but quicker/simpler) and identified a couple of themes which seemed to run across multiple questions. Here are my themes:
- Everyday life
- Actions / Activities
- Social interactions
I will be using these themes to guide and serve as lens to look at student reading as an experience. All enquiries will touch on these themes as a baseline, and will look for human factors within the everyday life of students such as needs, behaviours, motivations, experiences, values, and desires. Instead of focusing on particular preconceived questions, I will use these themes to guide interviews, run through diaries, and set the framework form my focus group.
This fitted well with my other endeavour, which was to leave space for serendipitous exploration, and at most only semi structure things. I didn’t want to script or plan all aspects of this research, I think the most interesting things come from unexpected places, and this type of approach models real life better I think.
At this point I was happy with the substance. I felt I had good focus points and I was confident that I could explore each individual theme in greater detail, with the exciting view that the road within each theme will most likely lead me to interesting places and situations. Oh, and I am expecting that the best fun will start when the connections between these things will start to surface. (if ever, but hoping)
As I mentioned previously I was very pleasantly surprised with the student response so far. I have close to 300 quite diverse students, who are willing to help out, and most of them are prepared to sacrifice more time than an online survey. I am hoping this has to do more with the genuine interest in the topic than the incentives, (which are pretty good I think) but either way it shows that students are willing to contribute and participate in formulating thinking and design within the university, the only thing we need to do is to ask them nicely. I worded and sent a general “to do” email for all participants, and adjusted the signup form to display it after filling it out. If I think back to the last week, probably at least half of it was burned on recruitment organisation. Something which can never be underestimated on any project…
Interviews are now scheduled with 10 candidates for the next 8 days, with all the invitations sent out, from which 5 confirmed attendance. I carefully selected 10 completely different students, in terms of age, time spent at the university, studied subject and gender. I had my 1st participant in for an interview today and had a great time with lots of insights. Audio recording all interviews and later making detailed notes of the audio.
Personal and book diary preparation
Both personal and book diaries are now ready and will be printed tomorrow. I working on distributing them and making them available online at the moment, with the aim that they should be available to pick up from tomorrow.
I have sent out invitations for 8 participants, carefully selected again for difference, from which I have 1 confirmed participant now. The preliminary
I started library observations in parallel at the English Faculty Library. It is a nice environment with nice people and lots of things to pick up on, so making heaps of notes. I am only doing this for 2 days, so I am pretty passive and static at the moment, but would like to engage more and generally be more mobile from next week, where all the parallel things ease up a bit.
Online survey and Hangouts
Apart from thinking about them a bit, not much progress has been made. Hangouts will be scheduled soon, but the online survey is planned at the very end of the study period, so I don’t even think about it for now.
This week I am interviewing mostly, so from the next post I would like to move away from planning and project preparation and focus more on reading related things in my posts. Oh and the weekly whacky bag is filling up too!
As I said previously I will post “somewhat related” ideas, or thinking with no other reason just to dump and record and maybe to trigger further discussions. Warning! Half baked and highly suspicious things ahead! Also, most of these are triggered by reading things from usually way smarter people than me - and so always try to not get lost in attribution decay
Making connections between text and synthesis seems to be common core activity what is expected from students (from previous Arcadia project reports). But the connection is almost always flattened to a list of books/publications, without much immediate insight into how they affected a particular piece of writing. So creating something which allows connecting, then naming/adding meaning to the connections might not only give info on what is read, but it would also cluster/group texts in a meaningful way. Imagine visualising the connections between books and the resulting synthesis, with the added benefit of information about the nature of those connections.
Knowledge on demand:
Maybe easier access to digital materials, and or knowledge in general transforms the way we think about knowledge as a whole. Maybe knowledge in our head is made up of exchangeable blocks which are retrieved and downloaded in the brain as and when needed. Synthesis is made around a topic from a certain constellation of these on-demand knowledge blocks, like cutting a slice of a cake which has constantly moving icing and jams in the middle?
Making your mark on digital documents:
Electronic resources can not be transformed - ie can’t put a visible bookmark, change shape of a page, or bend it. Even simple annotation is not straightforward in most cases. I mean this is fairly straightforward, but perhaps having it spelt out like this highlights that one of the reasons of students preference to read on paper is that they can transform/make their mark on a physical copy easily.
Competition around key books in the library:
Can the problems around not having enough borrowable copies of key books be solved with some kind of self organised or automatic scheduling between the students outside of the university ecosystem? Something which slices up the book borrowing time for a shorter period? Or within a system like this identifying supply and demand on the short term? Is that happening in real life anyway? I would assume that a group of students with similar interests or essay titles would do this since it saves time, right?
Silence please! …or not?
Based on my understanding of previous Arcadia project data, students perceive the library as a connection hub, which gives opportunity to break the isolation of writing and offers the opportunity to meet other people in the field. But wait, historically you have to be quiet in the library? So maybe next to “Silence please” room there should be a room with “Chit chat please” in the library (or a hackerspace)?
Or we can roll this further: Construct people magnets based on topics of interest. Have meeting points in the library where people put out the topic they are discussing onto a big display so that others can see it from a distance. Ability to remotely listen to/record the conversations from home, or make notes and print off notes. Physically in my head these would be similar pods like the ones in the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, where they demonstra sounds, but with bigger dsiplay on the top for other people to see what people are talking about and comfy chairs to sit down.
So last week I spent on planning. Project planning for me not only means preparation for the upcoming activities, but also putting myself into the right mindset. In this instance that means the reading mindset, and so I started surrounding myself with books (more than I would do normally), I started paying attention to the different kinds of reading I do, and I started to become more conscious about small little things we tend to do during reading.
Things like efficiency. I was reading Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper’s book The Myth of the Paperless Office and was fascinated to see their findings on the affordances of paper, and how people exploit the tactile nature of the paper for efficient reading. We start turning pages in parallel whilst reading, in order not to interrupt the main activity, without needing visual attention. Our fingers are capable of wondering across the page, finding the edge, grabbing a page and prepare it for turning, all without even looking at our fingers. We can do this to be more efficient at the reading activity, and so we can focus in parallel to other activities like writing, annotating, or comparing which in most cases accompany a reading activity. In the digital world this is a bit harder, since most of the time we need to pay visual attention to the act of navigation, and even the most advanced e-readers on the market today are only catching up in this respect.
This is not closely related to this project, but I believe small things like this in the specific context of student reading at Cambridge will be key to understand, and design software or products which acknowledge and take things like this into account. So how do we get to things like this? To make this happen, apart from ‘putting myself into the right mindset’ I focused on 2 things:
I created a visual project timeline, based on the amount of real time the project has, highlighting the ratio of planning, data gathering, analysis, design and artefact creation time. This will give others and me a vague framework in terms of timing, milestones and goals. I will post the project plan image in the next post, since Tumblr doesn’t seem to allow inline uploading and embedding into a text post (why?)
Questions and research methodologies:
To find out things we need good questions too. Not only good questions, but also questions asked in the appropriate format. I’ve been talking previously about how I would like to gain insights and validate those insights with quantitative methods to extrapolate. So this means that largely I will start with a small set of questions, which I will try to find answers to mainly using observation and interviews. Then as I extend my knowledge in the area, I will use a focus group and an online survey to validate those assumptions. Since I am the sole researcher in this project, that means that during the 10 weeks of the project I would only reach a limited number of people, places and situations. To somewhat balance this out I am planning 2 types of diaries in parallel, which would provide contextual information: student diaries and book diaries. Student diaries would be standard activity logs, capturing as much contextual data as possible around particular students reading activity. Book diaries would follow the route of books borrowed from libraries, requiring students to log things when the book is used.
Using these methodologies I am aiming to establish a set of baseline data, which is received from multiple sources, for better accuracy. At the moment I am collecting all the questions I can think of initially, and categorising them based on what is the best method (of those mentioned so far) to ask that question. The Observation/Interview categories of those will be my initial ammunition.
If everything works out as planned, the baseline data coming from initially known questions, asked in multiple formats will give a strong base for the gathered data, and the additional, but yet unknown questions and findings validated later would give depth and richness in understanding. Something like this:
Observation of places and people:
to gain insight and understand how things work
Interviews and casual chats:
to get deeper understanding of specifics
Book and student diaries:
to gather a larger volume of contextual information in parallel with observations
to validate findings coming from observation and interviews
to validate findings coming from observation and interviews
Preparing things like this is immensely important, but next week I will need to get to hard planning, which involves sorting out recruitment, and observation places (library), so that all of this can actually happen. I am also still meeting a handful of extremely kind and knowledgeable people who help me pulling all this off (their names will be gathered together and included in the project hall of fame at the end) and I am also sitting in to Qualitative Research Methodologies lectures which gives me a pretty focused brush-up of how things work on the field.
This Arcadia project is about finding out more about how students go about their academic reading at the University of Cambridge. This is extremely vague and wide, so let me try to put this in context a bit and specify it a little bit more.
We know from previous Arcadia projects that while reading lists are at the heart of academic reading at Cambridge, we still don’t know much about how these lists are constructed, used in real life, or how closely are being followed. We have learnt that supervision and departmental reading lists are being used differently, but we are still pretty much in dark about student’s decision models, motivations, and emotional aspects around reading. In this regard this projects aims to fill some of these gaps, and provide better understanding not only on reading lists, but on the whole reading experience from a student point of view. We are speculating that probably there is an important social dimension in reading and learning, and so we would like to validate and understand more in this regard. In a nutshell, it has been identified that there is a gap between the theory and the practice around reading at Cambridge, and so naturally we would like to explore and perhaps help close the gap.
Why is this important?
There three immediately apparent potential benefits which I can see now, and I am pretty sure that more will follow as the project progresses:
Better library services through more realistic expectations
Currently library acquisitions are largely based on departmental reading lists which might be out of sync with real world expectations. With understanding more what the real student needs are, and aiming to provide more organic data on what’s needed, libraries would be in a better position to anticipate needs, and act accordingly. Imagine no, or less competition for core books needed for an essay, or being able to find all the required books in one place. Also imagine students not having to spend half a week to just find and gather reading materials for a weekly supervision assignment.
Better teaching and learning tools through informed design
One of the main aims of this project is to produce material which can be used to design better educational tools. By having deep and meaningful understanding coming from real users, educational technologists can design tools which might solve real world problems. It could also help in thinking more widely and conceptually about everyday problems, and not necessarily jump to technical conclusions, or uninformed and disconnected solutions when thinking about technology which would plug the gap. Communicating what we have learnt is therefore key, so that it is understandable at all levels, all the way from practitioner to decision makers.
Awareness of real student needs for supervisors and other teaching or support staff
Supervisors and other university staff I am sure are eager to help, but since the whole system is so diverse and large, it is hard to coordinate or understand how things work for a student outside of the local supervision, or library context. From a student’s perspective supervisions or library visits are merely stop points within a far reaching system and a real life social network. Understanding what happens outside of these local contexts or hubs, how these interconnect is very valuable in my opinion, for everybody who is a cog in this huge and complicated machine.
My natural reaction is that in order to have meaningful and deep understanding, going further than understanding individual islands of contexts tied to physical places, certain people or interactions, I will need to position myself as close to students as possible and observe across all these contexts. I feel there is a certain disconnectedness and distance in data coming from surveys, interviews and focus groups just because there are too many hops and conversions in the transmission. Don’t get me wrong, I am not disputing the validity or usefulness of these methodologies, I am just trying to re-position them to serve as validation tools rather than driving forces. For me richness and the deep understanding of a subject comes from close interaction and immersion in an area, exploring daily routines, picking up on behavioural patterns, understanding emotions and social interactions, exploring extremes and uncovering everyday practices and mannerisms which play key roles in making decisions around reading.
So my plan is to adopt a hybrid approach, where qualitative primary data is based largely on lightweight ethnographical observation, with contextual diaries, interviews and surveys serving as validation tools, in order to allow extrapolation. I am aiming to be based in public places of at least two departmental libraries, with a view to shadow a small number of students and prepared that my journey will take me to unexpected places and situations. There is thinking around observing various physical places in the system, and I am investigating ways of following objects like books as they are passed hand to hand. I am aiming for holistic understanding rather than scientific and statistical rigour and 100% correctness. In the commercial world this approach is already established and there are numerous examples, where innovation is driven from user needs and behaviours.
Where I am now and what’s next?
Well, this week has gone crazy fast. I started doing some background reading, and am still looking at previous Arcadia project reports, there is good data in there. I also met several people, designers who are experts in extracting information through ethnography, and researchers who are active in this field. Fascinating how much you can learn by just saying hello to people. From those conversations I am trying to distill a practical approach, given the time and resource constraints of the project. My aim for next week is to have a clear idea of what exactly I will be doing (start sorting out practical things, recruitment, ethical considerations, library placement etc…) and draw up a plan which I can throw out of the window if I need to :) My aim is to post that sooner rather than later next week.
Oh, and also next week I will be introducing “The Weekly Wacky”, a weekly collection of crazy ideas that pop up as I go along - not only to have some distraction, but also because I believe these “bags of crazy ideas” can be fertile grounds of further discussion and thinking outside of the project scope.
And hello books, libraries, students, and the warm fuzzy feeling of a new project with a good prospect of discovery, and plenty of exciting “stuff”. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a designer & developer working at CARET on educational technology tools, websites and research. I will be doing my Arcadia Fellowship in the next 10 weeks, with the aim of finding out more about how students go about their reading at the University of Cambridge. I will use this blog to write down things that I wouldn’t want to forget, sort of as an unofficial project diary and mainly with an aim to “download my brain” somewhere fairly regularly. Sometimes my brain works in mysterious ways, so I am not expecting that all posts will be clear and comprehensible for a wide audience, but I turned comments on (Ideas? Questions? Comments? top right), so any of you interested feel free to ask away and make comments. Also I am expecting that I will publish plenty of subjective, opinionated, work-in-progress, self- and just plain contradictory things, as I believe that all these are natural stages of and enrich a thought process.
Obviously as it is normally with large-ish projects, at the beginning there is chaos, a rainbow coloured soup of ideas, expectations, assumptions and uncertainties. So in order to somewhat clear things up, have a vague plan of attack and a clear(ish) goal that I would like to reach, I decided that it is probably wise to start by doing some background work in the following areas:
Spell out what exactly I am trying to achieve and how
In one next posts I will write up a small elevator pitch of what this project is about. I will need this for my own sanity, but more importantly because I am expecting that during the project I will have to be able to tell uninitiated people what, how and why I am doing all this in a very short time, and using simple, unconvoluted language.
During the kickoff meting, John Naughton kindly suggested a couple of books which might be beneficial to read as background insight and which I am intending to read:
BTW - did you see what just happened there? I went to talk to some people who are are more experienced/knowledgeable than me, and from that conversation 3 book titles emerged without any planning, dynamically, just as a side product of a conversation and which directly affects what I will read in the short term. Any parallels with supervisions at Cambridge? Things like this will be fascinating to know more about.
It is fairly evident that ethnographic research will play a big role in this project. So my initial thinking is that I have to make sure that apart from gaining insight, understanding and “picking up the subjectiveness of the target audience”, I would like to be able to have good practices in capturing raw data, analyse, and communicate things. I will have discussions with professional practitioners in the field in the next couple of days and go for inspiration to people like Kelly Goto and organisations like IDEO. I would like to make sure that the process captures as much as possible, that I translate the data into meaningful insights, and that those insights are easy to understand for other people.
Pioneers before me
I am pretty sure that there are people who already did work in this area, so it would be foolish not to build on the wealth of those findings in this project, but at the same time acknowledging that this is an independent project from those. I will look at the work of Huw Jones on reading lists, the mobile library work done by Keren Mills, and I am pretty sure that there are plenty of other things which I don’t even have a clue of.
Any more suggestions?