Cultural Probes A Research Method

Cultural probes is a research method designed with the purpose of identifying intimate experiences and gathering valuable information such as insights, data, emotions, and reactions with the help of different elements and pieces of information that are put together in a pack.

Elements can take the form of a notebook, a diary, a map, even a camera to record specific events, feelings, or interactions. Participants that use the pack should be able to easily understand the given information and to fulfil the tasks.

The big challenge for the students was finding the right questions, activities, elements and the path of navigation in order to get substantial information.

The students came up with a main topic: travelling. Exploring this topic, they found different subtopics to explore like: food experiences, the packing moment, unexpected situations, language barrier, and accommodation.

They created a first sample that was tested with guest students from Hogeschool van Amsterdam and received feedback to improve the activities, content, and navigation.

The students improved the cultural probes and gave them to well-selected participants who returned the probes after fulfilling all tasks. The Master’s students clustered and analysed the collected data. These insights were then used as a starting point to tackle problems, needs and desires.

The outcomes of this research method allowed the students to set some strategic recommendations to be included and analysed in future research and ideation phases.