Diary of My Research to Date: How? Why? When?…

My primary research has started to come together, and is already providing me with some interesting data for my project. I decided to focus on asthma in developed countries, as opposed to in developing countries, for two reasons:

1) information and primary research is readily available.

2) Much of my secondary research shows that the scale of the issues with asthma in developed countries is massive, many of the issues have not been addressed.

I started my primary research by publishing a survey, which has, to date, had over 80 responses. the survey was not restricted to any specific demographic, because at this stage I am still interested to establish research from all potential users. Until I identify a specific target for the design, this will remain the case. The questions I have asked ranged from those of how frequently doses of medication are forgotten (if at all), to whether individuals have ever faced discrimination for their condition. The purpose of this research is to grasp an initial idea of where any issues with asthma treatment may lie, as well as to better understand and empathise with the user.

Another reason for such research, in my case, is because I myself am asthmatic. During my tutorials I have been made aware of the potential risks with researching an issue that I can so closely associate with, however, I believe that by the very fact that several of my survey results have produced surprising results to me is proving that my own experiences are not clouding my research.

I have supplemented my primary research with secondary research. The way I have done this is by recognising the most outstanding statistics from my survey results and using these issues as titles for further reading. For instance, in the case of one outstanding statistic, 51% of people said they forget to use their inhaler at least once a week. In this case, I sought secondary research to find out more information on why people forget to take medicines. This research has come (in the most part) from scientific papers and journals and shines further light on the issues I have uncovered.

I have also taken the outstanding statistics from my survey results forward as issues in my User Persona research. For this I have considered a broad range of users  (in recognition of the fact that asthma affects such a broad range of people) and I have associated 5 characters proportionately with the statistics for each issue. This gives me a visual reminder of how diverse the issues are with the condition.

Having already worked on a short Asthma project before I have also decided to consider some previous primary research taken in the form of a survey. However, at this stage I am not certain whether this research is relevant as it deals with the issues of the design of inhalers. As I am still in the research phase (and with plenty of reminding during tutorial periods) it is not yet time to consider solutions to issues. By considering statistics on inhaler design I run the risk of assuming that an inhaler is the best way to treat the condition. While this may turn out to be the case, I am not yet at a stage to assume so.

As part of my primary research, I hope to collect some more detailed and lengthy research in the form of user diaries. I have contacted Asthma UK with regards to primary research, and I am currently waiting on a response.

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