Research Methods Consultant

February 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

I sat down with Sam(antha) and (J.) Brian today to discuss a research project that Sam is working on for a class. A goal of the class is to implement and experience qualitative research methods in a new-to-you context, getting the students out of their comfort zone, which is where most research takes place. Brian and I took the same class last year  (kind of) and were able to offer our advice and experience to her.

I had a meeting and missed Brian’s solo input, but my main point was that she needed to be intentional and purposeful with her methods. There are many options available but to best utilize her short amount of research time (2 weeks for tool development and implementation) she needs to have a clear research goal and idea of how her methods would help her arrive at that point. That said, Brian and I also noted that being focused and purposeful needs a portion of being open to the unexpected. While conducting her research she may come across something unexpected that either changes her thinking or needs to be researched itself. So, be focused and intentional with your qualitative research methods, but be prepared to be flexible and possibly rapidly develop a tool to research an aspect that was hidden before but now has your gut pulling you towards it.

PS – Brian (or anyone else), if you read this, please share your qualitative research advice.


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§ 2 Responses to Research Methods Consultant

  • Although I don’t usually like sharing, I realized why it’s good that we are both mentoring Sam. I’m very generative in my discussions with her, and you help to converge and focus all those ideas.

    One thing you had missed earlier in the conversation was talking about how during ethnographic observation, a designer needs to accept that they aren’t “invisible”, but they should try to minimize their impact AND accept their impact at the same time. I told her about the portion of the movie we watched with YB, last year, about the researchers sitting on the tall chairs in the kitchen. Do you remember the name of that movie?

  • bcockrum says:

    Thanks for chiming in, and good point. The movie was Kitchen Stories –

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