Week 4 – Research Results

I really wish it wasn’t so cold. It’s hard to type when you can’t feel your fingers, never mind actually getting any productive work done. It’s just a constant need to move around and drink hot drinks which just eats the whole day away. It’s especially frustrating when I have so much work to do and most of that work consists of being a pleasant, smiling and front facing researcher for the University of Dundee. Coincidentally, my table at the Converge Challenge was called Resilience, so that’s what I’m drawing from right now. I need to get my Survey out there and get my interview method sorted out so I can have time to get some meaningful results, regardless of the temperature.

credit: http://medialabamsterdam.com/toolkit/method-card/1-on-1-interview/

So this is what the interview design method looks like and what I’ll need to apply to my project area. Today I’m going to try and have conversations around my area of interest, sort of a pre-interview with friends to help stimulate some ideas about where I would like to explore using my participants time. This will also help inform the more direct and targeted questions I plan to ask in my survey. Hopefully by Thursday I’ll have a nice mix of varied contextual research around the topic of Identity to derive my insights and brief from.

My survey was a great success, currently having received 78 responses so far. These responses consist of 18,000 words of responses as my questions were designed to collect deeper insights as qualitative data instead of quantitative data. The downside of this is that analysing it all will take a very long time. However, I’m really pleased that I managed to get such substantial results and that people found it enjoyable to take some time to be introspective and complete the survey. Here’s a link to the survey.

On the other hand, I had to amend my terms and conditions to address the emotional impact that my questions were having on participants. I’m guilty of finding the so-called ‘risks’ of taking a survey quite funny and unnecessary. However, I’m obviously entirely wrong. The deep introspection required to fully complete the questions ended up affecting peoples mood after they had interacted with the survey. This was a surprise and I felt bad because this was not considered or intended at all. I didn’t want to change the survey as I was getting so much good information, but on the other hand I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable or upset. I ended up amending a simple warning and an offer of support and further conversation with me if desired.

So the long process of analysing the data and producing insights begins in earnest. In my initial read over there is a strong prevalence of transgender/non-binary individuals suffering from a gender-dysphoria-influenced identity crisis, almost 50% of respondents. This is interesting as I never directly ask the participant for anything related to those topics. These people have chosen to associate that as a main part of their identity and are obviously the type of people who enjoy taking surveys that question their sense of identity.

Beyond that there appears to be a large disparity appearing between how we identify socially and personally. For example, one of my research participants said the following:

This quote has such an extreme dissonance with their previous expected “Name, Age, Profession, Location” introduction that it really stood out to me. The difference between what we are and what we say we are cannot be underestimated. This idea of the self and the social self will be important in the future of my project.

Next week is the Project Identification Presentation where we feed back to our lecturers a more specific idea of what we are to spend the rest of the year of study working on.