Design Research Methods: Affinity Mapping

Today we were visited by guest lecturer Katerina Grorkovenko. She introduced us to the research methods; affinity mapping and thematic analysis. Both methods work from the bottom up and categorise large amounts of data into smaller sized chunks so that a better insight of ideas and themes can be achieved. We did this with our interview transcript and after completing it I feel I had a better understanding of my interviewee’s thoughts and feelings.

We started by categorising phrases and quotes from our transcripts and clustering them together in codes. We then headed these codes with a different coloured sticky note and joined similar sticky notes together. We joined as a class to create a huge affinity diagram and created a further header for the secondary clusters to create themes.

The difference between the two is mainly that affinity mapping is more hands on and uses sticky notes. This is usually in a big group to avoid bias. Thematic analysis is done by a singular researcher or with one other researcher and is usually hand written or done through a program like NVIVO. Thematic Analysis can usually take a lot longer than affinity diagramming.

I much prefer Affinity mapping to Thematic Analysis as I think it’s quicker and much easier to get your head round. I also prefer working in a group and found the method to be more exciting.


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