Week 3: Methodologies, Qualitative research

My Research Question

This week I got even closer to my project questions final form!

I entered this week with the following as my research question. It's clunky and needs work. As you can see I had some notes...


I also worked on our project description, which turned out equally clunky and a bit repetitive:

My project is focussed on how using visual communication can be utilized to help support parents of children with prominent birthmarks equip their children with the skills to build their self-confidence. I will interview various adult with prominent birthmarks about their experiences as a child and as an adult with a birthmark with a view to discover any skills or ways of thinking they have developed to live with a visible difference.
Living with a visible difference can be difficult and in the formative years when low self-esteem is already an issue for many it can be even more difficult to cope when you have something visible that marks you as “different”. Parents of children with prominent birthmarks often have concerns about self-esteem and bullying. I believe they could benefit from a tool kit to help their children build self-confidence and a healthy relationship with their birthmark. I want to use communication design and illustration to give parents the tools to communicate helpful and positive messages and/or skills to their children in relation themselves and their birthmarks. This could be in the form of a picture book, informational brochures, or workbooks.
From my own experience and from anecdotes from other adults with birthmarks many people develop a better relationship with their birthmarks as they get older. I want to research how an adult’s relationship with their birthmark has changed from when they were a child and if there is anything they wish they knew growing up. I also want to examine existing literature on the subject to research the impact of birthmarks of the barer, any self confidence building techniques for children and the benefits of representation on self-confidence. I hope to combine this research into communication design tool for parents to raise children who are more confident with the birthmarks.

I need to rework this for next week.


My lecturer also pointed out to me that I mustn't over-promise with my project question and description. I'm only doing master-level research and only have a year to do my research, so there's no way for me to prove my outcomes with long term studies.


In Class

We covered a few qualitative research methods in class including Grounded Theory, Phenomenology, Ethnography, Design Ethnography, and Cultural probes. Out of them all, I think Phenomenology is the most relevant to my research as my subject is niche and I'm interested in the perspective of the individuals with birthmarks. However, I'm not certain if this is the perfect approach for my research.



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