How do we get people to talk? Here’s several possible ways!

Interviewing: I have not been so well informed about it, until I watched this video!

This is a video done by Gabriel Biller and Kristy Scovel (2008) exploring the question about denim jeans “Who’s buying premium denim and why?”.

It’s a simple questions to explore, and there so many ways to explore it. Interview is a classic one. First thing a student will answer if you asked them how would they conduct this research, they will said interview. Most of them (based on my personal experience teaching methods in research) have not much clue of how to conduct an interview and not even close to have list of what kind of questions they want to ask. Interview is one of the most stimulating process for me. Not only the interviewee needs to accomplish the skills in understanding and reading human behaviors and reactions but also how to engaged with the person who is sitting in front of you.

Things like making them feel comfortable with the ambiance surrounding them, with you as the interviewee, the equipments of recording and most of all the topic and research questions you interested to know from this person. Everybody knows what is an interview, and most of the time it leads to an stereotypical idea that the person who is interviewing wants to get as much as information from you, which makes the interviewee feel uncomfortable.

But this video brings another view about how fun can interview be, provides skills to learn as a interviewer and also what should an interviewer try not to do. Thumb’s up to Dori Tunstall’s taking step by step in details through the emotional elements in the process of interviewing, Collin Murray in sharing the experience about interviewing and Jeremy Alexis in discussing Don’t and Do in the process of interview using his interviewing process as the critic’s subject. If you need to know about interview watched Gabriel Biller and Kristy Scovel video.

“Now it’s gonna take a while before you get there, […] but the moment will happen” – Dori Tunstall.

Thumbs up for this excellent video!

Getting People to Talk: An Ethnography & Interviewing Primer from Gabe & Kristy on Vimeo.

INFO about the video:

The IIT Institute of Design is a graduate school of design dedicated to advancing the methods and practice of human-centered innovation. We believe that real innovation starts with users’ needs and employs a set of reliable methods, theories, and tools to create solutions to their problems. Ethnography and interviewing are how we, as designers, see the world through other people’s eyes and get them to tell us their stories. In the spring of 2008, we talked to professors, experts, and students about this philosophical orientation and how to actually get people to talk. To ground things a bit, we took a look at a truly universal article of clothing “ denim jeans “ and set out to understand: “Who’s buying premium denim and why?”

[ Citation: Gabriel Biller & Kristy Scovel, 2008 ‘Getting People to Talk: An Ethnography & Interviewing Primer’ viewed 31 March 2011, ]

Design thinking: How’s things work, the story of STUFF

This is an interesting video that I seriously think any designer should spend time watching it. It reflected on our daily behavior and will be able to inform us about what is outside of our comfort zone in terms of design practices. It’s worth seeing. The presentation is nicely presented with icons and simple visual to communicates the scenarios. I think it should be one of the main discussion in design education. I did this in my tutorial class. My first year design student, thinks that there’s nothing they can do, as the task is too big, and that they are only a beginners. Well, most of them think that as a designer, they are helpless as the client rules the process. Is this true? Really, we designer didn’t have much say in our own design process? What do you think? I had the discussion with my student, and good to see that this kind of assumption has been bravely put on the discussion table from my student. Clearly they wanted to contribute but didn’t see ways of doing it. So design educators, it’s our job.

Skim Reading: How to do it?

While teaching the students to understand methods of investigation (which is the class they enroll for) in their first research topic, other little parts that is as important as methods in the areas of research cannot be omitted.

One of them is reading, in order to construct literature review.

How to teach the student to choose the right material to read and most importantly how to select the material, what to drop and what to read?

My answer is skim reading method. To be able to know what to take on further and what not to in terms of reading materials, we still need to read, but we have to know how to spend and make used of our reading time in reading piles of the secondary research that we think relevant to our research. Skim reading allow us to go through our reading materials but provide assistant in developing the skills ‘to skip’ and ‘to focus’ when it needed.

Now I am not the expert of the area in skim reading, but I like to share lecture handout by Dori Tunstall. A blog by Timothy Burke on ‘How to read in the college?’ who will help you to understand further and how to do skim reading in research. His directions are well explained, nothing fancy instead it is clear and easy to understand.

Of course there are others, but Burke take you in the process of doing the skim reading in his blog, step by step. I found that very useful for a slow reader like me and also English as my second language. There are another interesting discussion blog about reading called Savage Mind, based on the effort made by several authors that are actively contributed in the reading discussion. One particular interesting topic of discussion is about ‘How to Read a book in one hour’ . For me the methods suggested in this blog is like skimming a movie if you don’t want to spend time watching the whole 3 hours straight just to understand what it is about. Now, it is important to note here that skimming is only to provide the first idea of what the context of the book or the discussion topics in the book. Once you have the idea of the book then the you can start do the choosing activity, which book need further details reading and which one doesn’t. The methods used by ckelty in reading a book in one hour are mainly based on the index approach, where the index lead the reader to the topic that the reader is looking for.

Well, I hope this will provide you some idea of skim reading and that you are able to work it out in your research practice. Oh yes, as stated clearly by Burke in his blog, this skim read process required practice to master the whole process. I’m still working on my practice, how about you?