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Disclaimer: All information posted in this blog are original unless otherwise stated and remains valid for as long as I have not yet thought of a better way to present them. They are not meant to be prescriptive and used rigidly without forethought.
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14 January 2013

Part 2/2: Theme: Definition + Exploration & Study - How to use 5W1H

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An example
Definition for "AMUSEMENT"

"A State | An Experience | A Provision... for

Funny | Laughter | Enjoyment | Entertainment | Diversion of Attention"


And you go...
'I finished my definition of the theme, what do I do next?'

Sounds familiar?
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The beginning of a project starting with a theme can be very daunting. You may either have too much information coming in all at once or you may think of nothing at all or you may be clueless on what next. You may find difficulty recording information systematically and effectively despite making attempts to do so.


The following tip can help you transit effortlessly into the exploratory stage. 

Suggested Method:
"Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?" (5W1H)
Craft and ask relevant questions with '5W1H'. Some examples on how you can apply 5W1H to define and explore the 'theme' broadly are shown below. 

Note
For the examples that follows you can replace '...' with your given theme, e.g. 'Entertainment'.

WHAT?         
Digs out definitions and provides understanding, clarity, functionalities, processes of the theme.
  • What is the meaning / definition of this word / phrase? e.g. 'entertainment'.
  • What is related to...?
  • What does ... do?
  • What does ... look / feel like?
  • What is the process of ...?
  • What problems do people face with ...?
  • What could be the problems faced when showing ...?
  • What could be the frustration with ... be?
  • What else is related to ...?
  • (Research outline question #1/3) What do I know about ...?
  • (Research outline question #2/3) What I do not know ...?
  • (Research outline question #3/3) What do I need for find out about ...?
  • Converting to a design challenge question by asking "What if...?"
WHERE?         
Locates the sphere of influence. The locations, the place, the space, the environment.
  • Where might we find ...?
  • Where does ... take place?
  • Where else might ... take place?
WHEN?         
Specifies the time. Past, Present and Future.
  • When does ... start / stop?
  • When does /does ... not happen?
  • When else does ... / does not happen?
  • When will the activity be considered ... and when it is not?
  • Is there a good / bad time for ...?
WHO?         
Focuses on Target Users / Target Groups / leading to design NEEDS.
  • Who is / are involved in ...?
  • Who are the people involved in ...?
  • Who can / cannot be involved in ...?
  • Who are the receiving end of ...?
  • Who else are involved in ...?
  • Leads to Design Needs analysis using P.I.E.S.
HOW?         
Questions on functionality, processes, methods, techniques.
  • How does one know if he/she is being shown ...?
  • How is ... done?
  • How is ... achieved?
  • How is ... so?
  • How else can one show / be shown ...?
WHY?
Getting to the hard facts and evidence and the root cause. Seeking fine clarify.
  • Why is there a need for ...?
  • Why can't ... be ...?
  • "5 Whys" technique: challenge assumptions and finding out root causes.
  • Converting to a design challenge question by asking "Why not...?".
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Tips:

To present your exploration and study of the theme, use images, on-location photographs and researched data as supplements. I won't be surprised in doing so, you might already identified some design opportunities.

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Conclusion
The ability to free the mind to explore is very important. Do not be too concerned that you may not do it right. Ask yourself this basic question: "Does what I am about to do contribute to the understanding of the theme?" Be creative in your presentation of information.

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