Pasta to Design Research Plans!
Updated: Feb 12, 2022
Last evening, sitting in class, we discussed what are research plans, and how do we craft them? Penning down my thoughts to speak out, I got reminded of Pasta, yes.
A design research plan requires questions, of course, just like my pasta cooking skills, so here go a few: a. WHO am I cooking for? Is this for my mum who is not fond of cheese, my brother who has low spice tolerance, or my nephew, who loves fish? Or am I cooking for my vegetarian buddy, who only loves broccoli when I cook it for her? -Who am I to speak to, as a part of my research? Or WHO ALL? b. WHAT kind of pasta? Fettuccine, gnocchi, vermicelli, macaroni, mmmm, see the list goes on and on, and I need to think 'who', to figure what kind. Mum would probably like fettuccine, while my nephew will probably enjoy spaghetti. -So what am I going to ask? I put down a list of questions/queries/concerns/just areas I want to speak about c. Wait, WHY am I cooking pasta? I could be cooking eggs, or maybe prepare soup, or a salad. But why a pasta, and why this kind? Well, because, for this time of the day, I believe, a pasta is the best meal to satiate the hunger of the ones I truly love, and the pasta I will cook will make them happy, truly! -So, why am I conducting research and why these questions, you may ask? Because my preliminary research and/or desk research got me to this very set of questions/thoughts/concerns, to guide me in my research. d. HOW am I cooking Pasta? Now I could run back to mum's recipe, or prepare something with my instincts, or just follow a recipe from a book/find something online. The fact remains, I need a recipe, and I obviously need a structure to my set of ingredients - al dente the pasta, use a teaspoon of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, fresh thyme, meat/no meat, vegetables? Wait, did I get the tomato? Oh, am I adding shallots too? Now you see why I need a recipe - a structure.. -Similarly, in case of a research plan, I put down the steps of what all I will do - task type, duration, maybe frequency, modes to conduct the actions in this plan, methods to document my research, expected results, or what am I looking to achieve, at every step, and how it could affect and alter my next course of action? To explain further, this is also where I take a step back, reassess the information I already have, to understand the tools I need to use - knives, forks, hahaha, no! Empathy Maps, Journey Maps, Personas, Service Blueprints, or am I testing, so am I going in for A/B testing, and so on and so forth.
(Did I just burn the shallots and garlic, well well well!) You get what I am saying? I could source the best of ingredients and burn my pasta, or undercook it, or maybe, just maybe, I do not serve pasta, or eat the whole thing off before I even serve it! There could a hundred possibilities, but just like I cook a meal for a loved one, I prepare a research plan, remembering that in the process, I might be speaking to individuals, observing them, and noting how they act/behave/react/respond, and so on and so forth, and so I need to: 1. Have Structure to what I am going to do, because this involves other living beings 2. Be humble 3. Remember that all living beings need their own space and privacy, and so I need to follow a code of conduct as I work around in some one else's space (Imagine cooking fish in a house filled with vegetarians..) 4. Be respectful of time, not just mine, because I get paid to carry out this research or manage this project, but also of others, because they are also investing time in me/us, with the hope to help 5. Be empathetic (and not slaughter the shallots, unless the recipe calls for it, haha!) And voila, we have pasta, oh wait, I mean, a research plan! And sure, you could ask me more questions on where, when, with who, and so on and so forth - THAT is exactly how and why you craft your research plan as well!
----------- I love food. I also love being curious and identifying networks/patterns to work. If you enjoyed reading, please let me know. If you have questions about me and my approach to work, shoot away - stoked to hear from you. -Bringing Chaos to Structure-