2. Define your research question

Defining our research question

We have now moved on from the empathy phase and into the define phase. In this phase, we are going to come up with a clear research question that we can base our ideate phase on. 

Which method we chose and why

We had three different methods to choose between; affinity diagram, empathy map and content analysis. The purpose of using one of these methods is organizing all the information we have gotten through our literature search, interview/observation and cultural probes. By doing this, we can group recurring problems and see what would be more relevant to take a closer look at and focus on moving forward with our project.

An affinity diagram is the organized output from a brainstorming session of a large amount of information. We chose this method over the other ones because it was the easiest and most fitting way to organize the information we have gathered. The content analysis method does not fit for sorting the information that we have gathered in this task and is harder to do properly. An empathy map would also not fit that well, as our information is not directly from one person’s point of view, but rather more generalized. Hence, we chose to do an affinity diagram. 

How we applied the method

After the group decided on a method to use, we gathered data from the previous assignments (literature search, expert interview/observation and cultural probes). In order to complete this task we needed to find problems surrounding our problem statement. As stated above, we used data from the previous assignments and found problems related to our problem statement. The type of affinity diagram we decided to do, is parallel clustering. We wrote these problems down on cards and spread them out randomly after they had been generated. 







Then, we looked at the problems written on the cards to find patterns and relations between these problems, in order to group them together. After sorting these problems we grouped them into three categories(from left to right in the picture below):







  • Language barrier.
  • Educational background.
  • Class size.

After categorizing our problems into these three groups, we wrote a short description of these categories(from left to right in the picture below):







  • Language barriers can create misunderstandings and difficulties.
  • Different educational backgrounds make it harder for the lecturers to adapt.
  • A bigger class size will affect the lecture in a negative way.

Finally, we discussed within the group which one of these categories we would like to focus on going forward in this project. The end result of this task will be presented further below.

The result of our affinity diagram

A more structured overview of the problems we wrote down and their relations and groupings. (All the points of the affinity diagram are listed in the text below to picture)


Student/lecturer in lectures


  • Language barrier.
    • Miscommunication.
      • Lecturer speaks bad english.
    • Nowegian students struggle with english courses.
  • Educational background.
    • Transition from high school to university.
      • Different environments.
    • Different backgrounds and experiences.
      • Different years.
      • Different studies.
  • Class size.
    • Less contact with lecturer.
    • Decreased participation in bigger classes.
    • More distractions.
      • People gaming/watching series.
      • Late attendance.
    • Anxiety to present in front of class.

Definition of our problem

We want to focus on problems surrounding the size of the lectures. How can a powerpoint chat function (PowerChat) help students and lecturers create a good relation/communication, despite a large class size.