Appropriate behaviour and attitude. All team members should follow the tips and tricks for ‘appropriate behaviour and attitude’. It is important to have an open mind, to build trust, to respect participants and their time, to treat them as experts and to truly listen without beliefs, biases, and making assumptions. Be honest about goals, keep participants informed about the progress made regarding the design project, properly thank and compensate participants for their invested time and effort. See: ‘tips & tricks’.
Compensation. Compensation can and should be provided to participants for their lost time and possible transportation costs, but be aware that money does not become an incentive to participate, as this influences the interview outcomes. Money, food and gifts to bring depend on the activity and on the context. Providing a tangible gift allows the participant to show the gift to other people, but might not be appreciated everywhere. It is important to find out what the people in the area find valuable. The compensation can be decided upon in collaboration with local partners.
Appropriate questioning. The facilitator(s) should be trained on qualitative research skills (prerequisite). In order to guide the facilitator, the tips & tricks regarding ‘appropriate questioning’ should be followed. See: ‘tips & tricks’.
Document everything. Note down characteristics of the participant (e.g., name, gender, social class, religion, age, occupation), of the activity (e.g., type of activity, the people present, date and location, materials used), and of everything that is seen, heard, felt, smelled, tasted, and / or surprising. Observations during the interviews are a useful means to check and interpret answers, and valuable when starting and continuing the dialogue. Observe during the touchstone tour, but also observe the participant’s behaviour and body language. Keep an eye on intonation. Follow the tips and tricks for ‘what to pay attention to’. See: tips & tricks.
Selecting, instructing and working with a translator. A translator forms a disconnect between you and the participant, as participants often focus on the translator. This limits the building of rapport. Translators differ in motivation, understanding and skills. Their age, gender, social class, clothing, religion and ethnicity of the translator with reference to the participant plays a role. Therefore, the tips and tricks for selecting, instructing, and working with a translator should be followed. See: ‘tips & tricks’. It is not always possible to control all translator characteristics, but by building rapport with the translator, and with a proper instruction the translator can be guided to diminish his / her influence on the outcomes.
Schedule more time than planned. Things often take more time in the field, due to, for example, dependency on other people, differences in punctuality, religious breaks, unavailabiity of electricity, internet access or the required materials, limited infrastructure, and limited access to stakeholders.
Be aware of your own position. Local people perceive you in a certain way. Because you are an ‘outsider’, you might be perceived as interesting to talk to, as a professional or expert, or you can be distrusted or not being taken seriously. It might even be dangerous to walk around and talk to people. People might also see you as a source of help (financial or otherwise) and therefore try to convince you of their misery, or they might be embarrassed and try to hide their situation from you. Your age, gender, social class, religion, ethnicity and with reference to the participant plays a role. It is important to build rapport and behave and interact appropriately (tips & tricks). It is important to be aware of the influence of age, gender and clothing, and how these are perceived by participants, to limit its influences on the interview outcomes and to at least take this influence into consideration during data analysis and interpretation.
Influence of recordings. Using video, voice recording and / or photography have several benefits and disadvantages. They might result in participants becoming shy or hiding information in order to not let it be recorded. On the other hand, they provide visuals and dialogue which aid the designers to analyse and interpret the data and to communicate the data to their team members. The design team can decide to secretly record observations and interviews, but should always ask permission afterwards for using these, and must realise that secret recordings can seriously damage the relationship with the participant.
Contextualising visualisations. As the intended ‘receivers’ of the message displayed in the visualization vary, it is difficult to develop one universal set of visualizations suitable for every context. Therefore, contextualizing the visualisations might stimulate discussion. See: tips & tricks for developing these visualizations.