Comments from last week

Overall, my topic is still very board right now. There are so many things to look into with the topic of mental well-being. People in different age group, nationality and living condition might feel differently to the same situation. On the other hand, I have been doing research alone over the summer and haven’t had any deep talk to anyone yet, it is time to narrow down and go deeper with the topic.

Direction

Consider the access of people I can get in touch with, as well as the supported reference on “Asian population tend to have higher depressive symptoms, anxiety and stress on isolation than people in western countries”, I decided to target my audience as Asian young adults who aged 18–30.

In terms of gender, I didn’t plan to investigate and compare the anxiety level between male and females, but my research audience would be mainly females.

Cultural Probes

In order to have a deeper understanding of their backgrounds, situation between covid outbreak peak and now, and what they value at this age, I designed a cultural probe to allow people to share their lives in a new form.

Since my target group is Asians, I also want to explore how the place where Asians grew up or lives would affect their mental wellbeing during COVID-19. Thus, apart from people from Hong Kong, my participants also includes Malaysian, Singaporean and Indian.

Ideally I know I would get more interesting findings if I let participants to do more practical tasks with a physical cultural probes. However, due to location differences, time and efficiency, I ended up making a booklet instead.

My original plan was to send out the soft-copy so people can print it and work on the physical booklet, or even edit it on the PDF file straight away; but consider not everyone is familiar with software editing, I also provide a second option by putting my content on Google Slides with given text box for people to fill in their answers easier. Although this method may restrict their areas where they can be creative and draw freely, compromising their needs is also important.

Turning cultural probes (physical booklet) to digital version

Sidenote: When I ask them which method they would prefer, more people prefer the online version.

Rather just asking how people feel during COVID-19, it is also important to know the side factors that might linkage to their feelings. Hence, the booklet includes 11 tasks with 3 chapters: 1.) General, 2.) Lockdown/ Stay Home Period, and 3.) Present.

The tasks are basically wanting to their general interest, where their sense of security are, further knowing what their previous distress, life comparison between previous lockdown and now, things that are consider as important in their mind, a week of their mood record, and more.

Before setting up the tasks, I did make notes on the types of information I would like to explore so as to ensure the relation. Some task are derived from literature reviews as well.

Drafting tasks and questions
Finalise tasks and questions for cultural probes

I have sent out the copy and invited more than 10 people to be part of my research. The total length for the tasks is 5 days.

Concept of “Flow”

Aside from cultural probes, I continued to explore about mental well-being and learnt a new concept of “Flow”. The experience of flow is developed by a psychologist called Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi . It is a positive state where people are very into an activity that they will ignore the “outside world”. It feels like you are in the “zone” being very productive and enjoying the whole process.

It is mentioned that such experience is an important component for well-being. And experiencing flow as a group would be more enjoyable than only doing it alone.

At this stage, I still don’t have a definite idea on what my outcome would be, but I wonder will this concept can be able to apply somewhere in the project…

Concept of “Flow” summary

Reflection

I was a bit struggle with the formation while designing the cultural probes. On one hand I knew it would be more fun to do when participants work on more tangible things, on the other hand that would become my difficulty to mail everything out from London to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. Nonetheless, this method is not practical at all. On the bright side, I once again learnt about the importance of building connections. Without doing that, I wouldn’t be able to find people from different nationality to be part of my project.

Reference

Oppland, M., 2019. Ways To Create Flow According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

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