The Nitty Gritty: Research, Design, Publication, and Follow-Up **

Define, Map, and Understand the Problem:

1. Work to understand the user.  

    • Personal accounts/stories: We will cultivate a collection of stories and narratives from people so that we can develop a better understanding of their lives and experiences. These accounts will be unfiltered and direct.

2. Look at the Bigger Picture.

    • How do personal accounts fit into regional, national, international trends?
    • How do current systems/structures/organizations fit together?
      • How do each of them play into current spatial equity/inequity? 
    • Mapping Current Systems and Structures.
      • At Present: look at and pull from local, national, and international systems, structures, policy, programs, and other relevant data. 
        • Evaluate and Map: Look at the harmful and helpful current policies, practices, and data.
          • How do they help or hurt designing for spatial equity?
          • What concrete things need to change to support spatial equity?
        • Show Importance: Provide data as to how policy and local legislature can impact and evolve design.
        • Current Happenings: Find any existing research-informed and equalizing structures, systems.
          • New science-informed modifications and design interventions to come in the design section. 

3. Historical Perspective: 

    • Individual, local, regional, national, international dynamics of power and control between dominant and majority groups.
    • How do these histories contribute to modern-day systems, structures, and society?
    • How and why did this all begin?

4. Systems Thinking: understanding - through a multifaceted approach - a holistic view of an issue to define the problem: 

    • Apply the above ‘at present’ and ‘historical’ methods throughout each system.
    • Look across numerous fields - encompassing economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, arts/culture, governance/policy, education, etc.  

Research Considerations:

  1. Feasibility: How do we ensure this work is feasible and done to the best of our abilities?
    • Is it possible to work with this given person or organization?
    • What is our task?
    • What are we asking of them?
    • Are we on the same page between all parties and is communication clear?

     2. Go-No Go Decision: when collecting research, how do we decide which people, organizations, and avenues will be the most useful for us to pursue and spend time on? 

    • Will this work positively contribute to our understanding of equitable design?
      • What sector do they fall under?
      • How will they expand our knowledge and understanding of spatial equity and the bigger picture?
    • Will this research feed into our longer-term design goals and methodology?
      • The research should support, enhance, and cross-examine the process, not lead to old, faulty, or well-documented information.
      • Can we make our work and resources accessible and methods more transparent?
      • Are there any reasons why we shouldn't pursue this angle, organization, or individual for research?
        • Are there conflicts of interest?

     3. Test, Observe, Improve, (Repeat).

    • Narrow and sharpen the problem.
    • Find verifiable sources:
      • Original Research, interviews, first and secondhand accounts.
      • Primary sources and observations.
      • Multidisciplinary sources: journals, scientific articles, policies, etc.
      • Fill in the story gaps. 
        • What are we missing?
        • Who is not represented?
        • Is there an equal exploration of experiences, organizations, sectors, structures, and systems?
      • Write and Rewrite. 
        • Fact and source check.
        • Edit thoroughly and have others review 

Design Structure and Considerations:

  1. Continually feed off of Research.
    • Every part of the design process should loop back into new and old research and insights. 
    • Every decision should be related to and supported by the research. 

     2. Enhance general suggestions with specific, local, research and relevant experience. 

    • Always customize prior to implementation per group or individual.

     3. Prototype and Test.

    • Continually ideate, enhance, prototype, test and retest.
    • Start with small scale interventions and build up.
    • On the trends we discover: formulate design metric/guides.
      • What is the design intervention needed? Is it top-down (macro-scale), bottom-up (micro-scale), both?
      • User Feedback.
        • Are we successfully responding to the user’s needs? 
        • Does the design intervention make a space more equitable?

The Aftermath:

  1. Publication.
    • How do we publicize research, interventions, and insights which remain unfiltered and fair to those we researched?
      • Keep research unedited - can summarize key points, but, the full interview or research will always be available.
      • Platforms:
    • Will publish across CCD, Linkedin, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
      • For recorded interviews: the full interview will be posted on Youtube, trailers on social media - along with a general synopsis of what is covered in the interview and where people can find the full video. 
        • Excerpts and written summaries will be approved by the interviewees to ensure it fairly encapsulates their talk and experience. 
      • For written interviews or articles: posts will use engaging questions and quotes pulled from the article to use in social media.
        • If representing a person or organization, an approved image might be used as a graphic element.
        • A similar process of approval will be done for the written summary or interview - collected information and media posts will be approved by the individual or organization before publication.
      • For other forms of research not directly involving an organization or individual: the source will always be linked into and made available in the synopsis/summary pulled. 
        • This ensures transparency for readers to get a deeper overview of the information. 
      • All information will remain free and available on the CCD webpage under the focus ‘Design for Equity’. 
        • Creative Commons material- free to use and distribute with attribution.

      2. Follow-up.

    • Check to see if our design interventions and research are still relevant.
      • How have times, situations, and structures changed?
      • How can we integrate natural changes into the design structures? 
        • Ensure scalability and flexibility in design?

See also:

Investigative Design Methodology.

Our Code of Ethics. 

The Nitty-Gritty is a part of the Design for Equity methodology. We further our work in our code of ethics piece and our more detailed back-end process. We've separated these works to keep everything streamlined and neater, but we've linked them above for you in our commitment to transparency.

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