2. Define your research questions

Which method we selected and why

We used the affinity diagram method, because it seemed like the easiest and most structured way to organize our findings. Since we had a lot of information, the method made it easy to manage complexity and move the notes quickly. The affinity diagram also fosters collaboration within the group, where we can individually come up with ideas and then connect them afterwards. 


How we applied the method selected

First, we individually wrote down pieces of data on a mind-mapping website for about half an hour. In this part we went through our content (literature review, expert interviews, and cultural probes) and produced a list of the most important insights, such as words, phrases and sentences. When we came together as a group, we looked for natural groupings, patterns, and what categories these belonged to. We ended up with the main categories: parents, teachers, and both. Beneath these we placed the related data and after a period of reflection we grouped them into smaller groups. These were labeled: responsibility, needs, problems, and communication.

The results of our Affinity Diagram

In our diagram we have divided what’s considered a parent’s-, a teacher’s, and both of their responsibilities regarding a child. This includes highlights such as a parent’s responsibility for the child’s upbringing; the teacher’s responsibility for the child’s education, and that they need to cooperate, be actively involved and responsible to positively affect the child’s academic- and social life.

The next category, called needs, addresses what our representative parents and teachers want when it comes to teacher-parent communication. From a parental perspective, they want a platform where they can share information, plus they want to reduce communication that is only initiated by a child’s negative behavior. The teachers want to plan appointments beforehand, so they can understand the situation and therefor be prepared. They also want to only be contacted via their work phone, and not through a personal phone. A mutual want is more frequent and personal communication, to gather information about the child, and an easy way to share information.

The communication category includes different used methods for teachers and parents to stay in contact. Because of our interviews and cultural probes, we could also include some thoughts and feelings attached to each method.

After thoroughly analyzing the problem categories, there was one conflict in particular that stood out and piqued our interest. According to our research, there are disagreements between parents and teachers regarding time and availability. On one hand, parents would like more frequent communication, and even the possibility to contact teachers after their work hours. On another hand, teachers would like to use a work phone and keep the communication outside of work minimal. This is something we can keep in mind when thinking of a problem definition. 


Our problem definition

We have come to the conclusion that our problem definition will be: How can teachers and parents (who) communicate more frequently using a smart phone (what) without creating more workload for teachers (why).