top of page
Screen Shot 2020-11-22 at 9.39.10 PM.png

Project Duration

10 weeks


Contextual Research Methods (IDUS 215) Kwela Hermanns

Team Members

Elaine Wang

Wensi Huang

Ivan Leung

Ann Marie McCollum

My Role

Writing and Design Lead


We were given 10 weeks to conduct contextual research on a topic of our choice. We created a client book for the Human Experience Firm Lextant, who we partnered with throughout the quarter.

What is Contextual Research?

Contextual Research is a method used to collect rich data on the behavior of human beings. By understanding the user's needs, new opportunities for growth can be uncovered and innovative solutions can be crafted.


After brainstorming topic ideas, we began our contextual research training by observing the type of music played in public places. During this stage of primary research we particularly focused on how the music enhanced the atmosphere of the business and the emotions it evoked.
Before conducting our next stage of research which was interviews, we created a stakeholder map to determine which group of people we would choose to target in our research.
Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 1.15.21 PM.png


For our interviews we focused on the general public as well as aspiring and professional musicians. From our Contextual Research training we learned how to ask effective interview questions that prompted the interviewee to engage in conversation. Below are sample questions for our interviews.
After completing each interview we recorded key ideas from the interview sessions on yellow sticky notes in order to collect large amounts of relevant data. We used the online sticky note platform Miro.
Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 1.24.04 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 1.28.19 PM.png


Another method we used for collecting data was an online survey that focused primarily on music streaming services and the emotional impact of concerts.
Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 1.36.06 PM.png

Sensory Cue

Our virtual sensory cue workshop was centered on describing various music genres and concerts. Participants listened to a compilation of concert clips then matched descriptive emotional words to screenshots from each of those clips.
Screen Shot 2020-11-26 at 1.45.11 PM.png


After creating yellows for our observations, interviews, survey and sensory cues, we randomized the yellows to begin the affinitization process. We then clustered the yellows according to similar meaning and message.
Screen Shot 2020-10-30 at 11.07.20
IDUS 215 affinity(9).jpg
We then created blues to represent the yellows. The blues were written in the voice of the user and documented what was important to the user.
We repeated this process with pink then green sticky notes in order to condense the data and draw out the key insights. What was written on the greens informed the next step of the process: the framework.
IDUS 215 affinity(21).jpg
Screen Shot 2020-11-07 at 8.07.57 PM.png


The framework is a method to show our key insights in an organized way. It highlights our focus on the connection and satisfaction brought by music and describes what music is and will be in the future. The structure of the framework greatly helped in determining the layout and sequencing of our client book.
Screen Shot 2020-11-15 at 8.05.58 PM.png

Process Video

The process video walks through the various stages of research and particularly focuses on the affinitization process and framework.
bottom of page