Comments from last week
It was nice that I made something for doing the research, however the range I was trying to cover is too board, there would be a many information to handle afterwards. The instrument that I used for the cultural probes were too flat as well, the medium chosen would affect the research results. My tutor suggested me to find a spot to focus on and get a deeper look into that.
Cultural Probes Analysis
The cultural probes can be divided into 3 sessions. The first session is more general (Task 1–4), second is about lockdown/ stay-home period (Task 5–6), and the third part is about now (Task 7–11). I pasted everyone’s answer into Miro and started to organise and analysis their answers.
For this research, I have invited 23 young adults to participate, with 2 dropping out in the middle, the results were based on the remaining 21 people. Majority of the participants were females, only two were males. And among all participants, 14 of them are employed, 1 is currently unemployed, and 6 of them are students right now.
Task 1 — Things people enjoy doing
For the things people enjoy doing, it can be classified into “Relationship Building”, “Exercise”, “Arts”, “Self enchantment”, “Relaxation”, “Entertainment” and “Others”. Among all of them, watching TV/ Netflix and socialising are the most popular ones.
Task 2— Your Shelter
In terms of a place where people feel safe, many young adults mentioned about home, their room, or their bed. They feel safe when they are surrounded by people they trust and wiling to give support. And since these places are owned by them, so it provides privacy as well. It is the foundation of their sense of security.
Task 3 — Your Burden
For burdens, many young adults mentioned work, and worried about the uncertain future. And due to COVID-19, they are more concerned about their own, family and friends’s health, but this is not as strong as their worries to their jobs.
Another finding that also supports what I discovered from doing autoethnography research, which is age and job status do affect what people worries. The older employed group would concern about marriage and housing; while the students concern about their return to study and future job hunting.
Task 4— Down Moments
I tried to find the duplicate emotions that people have during their down moments with the feelings they experience during COVID-19, turns out the answer are: frustrated, worries, lonely and insecure. The participants also wrote down ways on dealing with their negative emotions, I wonder whether their previous coping solution can be applied or would get affected or not.
Task 5 — Stay Home Activities
During lockdown or stay home period, the young adults were mostly either staying in their bedroom working or studying, staying in bed watch Netflix, or relaxing and watching TV in the living room.
Task 6 + 7— Lockdown/ Stay-home vs Now
From the previous literature review some scholars mentioned how people found boredom with the repetitive life during lockdown. But I found that no matter it is during lockdown period or now, the employed group’s life tend to be repetitive in their own way. However, they would feel their life being more fruitful, positive, and diversify when they got to socialise with people or exercise once or twice a week.
For students who applied overseas university but not attending in-person class, some started to experience different learning schedule than they previously did, i.e. online classes from late afternoon to mid night due to time differences.
And note that, most people were able to stay with their families during the previous lockdown or stay-home period.
Task 8 + 9— To-dos & Wants
Between what young adults need to do and their wants, I found that it is always work related, and it also links to their burdens and worries.
And for the things young adults want to do, they are the things that they answered in Task 1.
Task 10— Priorities in Life
When asking what are their priorities in life for now, the top 5 are “Family”, “Health”, “Work/ School”, “Money” and “Friendship/ Relationship”. I would say “Family” connects back to the safe space where people find comfort; “Work/ School” and “Money” is what people concern but worry at the same time. And the “Friendship/ Relationship” part is what people enjoy doing that can brings out positive emotion.
Task 11— Emotion Diary
Lastly, I had them to record and write down their mood for the past 5 days. To summarise the findings, there are 4 points:
1. Most of the negative emotion comes from work/ study, but people also feel satisfied when they have overcome the challenges
2.Apart from the medical staff who is still suffering from heavy workload, more people are experiencing positive life at the moment
3. In the repetitive life that happen to most employed people, the once to twice gathering and exercise do make their mood feel differently
4. COVID-19 does not directly affect their mood and wellbeing
Model — Summary of Findings
While I was analysing, I found there are sections that have relations between one another, hence I decided to make a model to demonstrate my idea. The model is set up with several islands naming from “Work/education”, “Hobbies”, “Family”, “Exercise”, “Health” and “Friendship/ relationship”. These islands are surrounded by a human figure with strings making connections, and the pipe cleaners represents different emotions with that particular island.
Mental well-being can be define as having a balance between positive and negative emotion. From the research findings, most negative emotion young adults encountered are related to work or study, hence there are more purple and blue pipe cleaner on the string meaning negative emotions. While the other islands have more bright colour pipe cleaners (representing positive emotions), these islands are helping the person to balance out their negative emotion. When COVID-19 hits with lockdown, and banning gym room or other types of socialising activities, it makes the negative emotion hard to let go and losing connections. There is where the strings will let go from the person, losing that particular island, eventually accumulate more negative energy.
Recall what my tutor suggested me to do on finding a focus point, I got a bit stuck and not knowing where to start. I wasn’t sure what they meant by having a deeper look on a particular aspect. I feel like when only focus on one thing that wouldn’t be well-being anymore because well-being is about having a balance…
Reflecting on the process with the cultural probes research, I found it hard to keep track on the participants to make records on their emotion (Task 10). On one hand I understand they are busy with their lives trying to get back on track, on the other hand I had to continue reminding them every single day which I found myself being annoying sometime. Fortunately, most people have responded within time so I was able to start my analysis.
Another thing I didn’t noticed beforehand was the length of the content. When I first created it, I only thought about the information that I need, I didn’t measure the “workload” for the participants. I received comments with the long filling process from several participants. Perhaps it was because of the form of the material that made people feel that way, I need pay more attention to that in the future.
While analysing, I found myself not being a good job on setting up the tasks. There are several parts that I found the answers were quite shallow or not helping much at all…
Luton Borough Council (no date) Mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Available at: https://www.luton.gov.uk/Community_and_living/Lists/LutonDocuments/PDF/JSNA/7.1%20Mental%20and%20emotional%20health%20and%20wellbeing.pdf (Accessed: 2 November 2020).
The University of Sheffield (no date) Five ways to mental wellbeing. Available at: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/hr/wellbeing/5ways (Accessed: 2 November).