Research Methods

After the secondary research phase I realized that my project was diverging in two paths. The first, a look into how the psychology protocols can be utilized to create sustained creative workshops. The second, into how we can pinpoint and tailor workshops to meet a certain need for a given audience. I revised my research question to accommodate the later and decided on: How might we, through a play based system, introduce high school students to design concepts, and careers?

In this next phase I will conduct research through a mix of methods outlined in the Universal Methods of Design. I will gather quantitative data through surveys. I will conduct traditional one-on-one interviews and some group interviews through the KJ method and love/breakup letters, and continue my secondary research with artifact analysis on play based systems.

Sir Ken Robinson in a ted talk said, “Creativity is of the same importance in education as literacy and we should treat it as such.” I will conduct a 12 question survey for students to assess how they feel about their knowledge of creative careers and concepts. I will be sending it out to both high school and college students through various channels to get a good reading on how they feel their knowledge of creative practices are but also about how they felt school cultivated their creativity. There will be 4 multiple choice, 4 scale questions, and 4 short answer questions to gather data on constraints and generating novelty. I think learning about where people are from, their backgrounds, and understanding what gaps exist in education is going to be paramount to creating something meaningful and worthwhile.

The love letter, and its counterpart, the breakup letter, are two methods that allow people to express their sentiments about a product or a service using a medium and a format that are immediately understood. The responses are often unexpectedly deep and revealing about the relationships people have with the products and services in their lives. I hope to open group interviews with students that I currently mentor (Freshman in the SOA) that will reveal meaningful and tangible ideas on creativity, school, and their knowledge of creative careers.

In order to allow for a free spread of ideas I would like to use the KJ technique, based on the love/breakup letters everyone writes their concerns on sticky notes in silence, and then we organize them based on categories in an affinity map. It allows for a nice easing from writing to speaking about a deep question and gets the ideas out on the table to allow me room for new questions I never thought to ask to arise. I think it has three clear advantages: it is silent, it allows people to work quickly, and group pressure doesn’t affect the outcome.

Finally I will interview college professors, educators that work with high school students, and college freshman to determine how play based systems could play a role in creating engaging experiences. I want to understand how the current education system attempts to cultivate creativity and how much teens and educators are exposed to creative careers. I also will be looking into existing play based systems in schools, and looking at how teachers encourage collaboration in the classroom.

I know that to pursue this project, and pursue it really well, I will need research. To better understand my subject, I will be conducting interviews, some group activities, and sending surveys. I realize that there are pain points I still have yet to uncover and needs that I still need to figure out. I hope that through research I can gain a greater understanding of my audience and hopefully approach this not as a designer with all the answers but as a person first, and a designer who empathetically helps fill in the gaps.

I am a current Senior pursuing a BFA in Graphic Design at the University of Arkansas. I eagerly seek to create works that are clever, beautiful & succinct.