1.3 Approaching the end user: BETA protocols
1.3 JAN25/ Beta approach to end user and protocol design We want to design with the people not just for the people, so we need to know their expectatins, goals, needs and ideas. It is absolutely important to go to the field with a plan. Not a static plan, but an organic one that might adapt to the researcher’s needs. It is not enough just to acknowledge the tools to work with, but to know whom we are working with, in what conditions and what we want to get from this experience. So a “roadmap” should be made before making any moves. This is a research protocol. Also it is a good thing to test it. This, in allusion to Google’s concept, I’ve called it a Beta Protocol. By testing it in real contexts, it is easier to make changes before getting to the real situation. We use and modify Eric Dishman’s [http://www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/bios/edishman.htm] the Ask, Perform, and Observe protocol. Yet, with some typical recommendations in anthropological research [Schensul, Jean J., and Margaret Diane LeCompte, 1999 Designing and Conducting Ethnographic Research. Vol. 1. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: AltaMira Press]. A basic research toolbox will help us to design and imagine new research methods or ways to elicit and collect information. They can be participative, and they should look to be designed accomplishing the objectives defined by the student.
The students made 1 to 1 in-context interviews to elder people from around Raleigh. Interviews are particularly useful for this EXPLORATORY PHASE. Researchers designed charts and other graphic supporting material to collect the information in an organized and thoughtful fashion. This material is the one subjected to change. We won’t just modify the protocol itself, but also the worksheets used for the researcher’s data collection. There is also designed material to write reflective insights post-interview. This is used when team meets to check out the audiovisual material. Students did modify the typeface for the informed consent forms to enhance the readability of the participants. They also changed some approaches to questions and ways to download the information. The team profits from the information interchange that takes place within the class. Rebecca Myers and Sam Cox did revise once and again their protocols, going into the field and revising the processes and the material after. They were very successful with their insights.
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