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14. Collage - Pg. 34

RESEARCH METHOD 14 Collage As inspiration for design teams, collage allows participants to visually express their thoughts, feelings, desires, and other aspects of their life that are difficult to articulate using traditional means. 1 When prompted by traditional research methods such as questionnaires and interviews, people often find it challenging or uncomfortable to articulate and express their innermost feelings, thoughts, and desires. Collage can help mitigate this challenge, by providing an opportunity for research participants to project personal information onto visual artifacts, then using these results as a tangible reference point for conversation. A collage kit typically includes card or paper sheets, a preset collection of images, words, and shapes, and glue sticks. Recent studies have also experimented with screen-based collage sessions using custom-made software. 2 Collages are each completed by a single person, but sessions are generally conducted in small groups. A critical component is to have participants present their col- lages to the group or researcher, to provide clarity and insight about image choices and meaning. Presentations are videotaped for later analysis of footage or transcripts. Collage is usually instructed openly to allow for participant interpretations. For example, participants may be invited to collage their view on some phenomena (technology, information), or their feelings about particular service experiences (hospital, finances), or their home or work life. A common framework is to include time dimensions to the collage instructions, for instance, experiences past, 1. Creative, participatory tools for design, including collage, have been pioneered by Liz Sanders. See, for example: Sanders, Elizabeth B.-N., and Colin T. William. "Harnessing People's Creativity: Ideation and Expression through Visual Communication" Focus Groups: Supporting Effective Product Development. London: Taylor and Francis, 2001. See additional readings from research and practice at http://www.maketools.com. 2. Stappers, Pieter Jan, and Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders. "Generative Tools for Context Mapping: Tuning the Tools" in Design and Emotion: The Experience of Everyday Things. London: Taylor & Francis, 2003: 85­89.