Data: The Gathering

No cards or magic included, sorry.

Jokes aside, this week of course-related blogging does not have a designated goal, which means that I am completely free to write anything I want – related to the course, naturally. The time has also come to start gathering information about my “muse” (that is the fancy name we have for the person we are designing a game for, as the main product of the course), so that the real work can start. As such, for the topic of this week’s post I will cover my choice of method(s) of data gathering.

Now, the data gathering is two-folded. The Cultural Probe is an active process for the muse, and the Content Analysis is passive. I chose these as I wanted to achieve two primary things while gathering.

  1. The methods have to get data that is genuine and correctly reflects the person.
  2. The methods should not feel stressing for either part.

The Cultural Probe is much more subtle that it sounds. Think of it as a little space shuttle arriving to a planet of aliens, having a list of tasks on board, which the aliens performing some tasks for a while, not knowing exactly how the data would be used, only that this was a thing from another world set on gathering information about them. I might have strength the metaphor a bit too far, but that is the gist of it. I have gotten my plans reviewed, but seeing as the probe has not yet launched (or manufactured for that matter), it would be rather stupid to spoil everything just yet, but I will get around to it sooner or later. Needless to say, it involves the muse doing a few minor very open tasks every day for around a week. The goal is to catch those little odd things that catch our eye, makes us think or otherwise simply leaves an impression. More importantly, it is described completely by the muse, eliminating potential passive influences from the surroundings, that would not normally be there in the first place – like if I was interviewing.

Content Analysis is much more simple, as it simply involves me gathering data about my muse from all corners of the world. What does the muse like, what does she find funny, interesting and chooses to share with the rest of the world. This does have a minor pitfall of being seen through the outsider’s eyes, which means things can be left out, either because not everything is shown, or because the individual chooses to focus on different things. However, this is also why this method is going to be such a great compliment to the probe, as it unifies how the muse looks at the world – and how the world looks back at what the muse wants it to see.

So, how do these fit into my small list of goals for data gathering? Simple; neither of the tasks are meant to be tedious in any way and – as mentioned earlier – both cover a different angle of perception with potential overlaps. Needless to say, I am very excited at how this is going to turn out. Magic might even happen!


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