Updated Plan

Research Theme

How and why do Textile designers want to establish a small business?

  • How did they set it up? 
    • Comparison between someone setting it up currently and someone already who has set it up
      • Process of setting up a business
        • Idea for product
        • Values of the business
        • Create product 
        • Photograph product
        • Set up website, social media etc 
        • Promote product on social media and websites like etsy 
        • Sell product
  • Why did they set it up?
      • To get their work out there
      • To try and make money during COVID
  • What roles are within a small business?
      • Maker 
      • Web designer 
      • Photographer
      • Accountant
      • PR manager
  • What made them want to start a textiles business instead of something else?
      • Something that they knew already 
      • Always wanted to sell their work 
      • Sell the excess work created
  • Comparison between a small business and a larger business and what makes their product different?
      • Obviously, it is handmade 
      • Their insight into design
  • Why did I choose to set this question? 
    • Did this because I can use this case study to make an informed decision in the future, if I want and can create a small business like this. 

Tutor comments:

There are lots of great ideas here and the addition of personal reflection and future planning will make for interesting analysis. As we discussed in class, it would be useful to expand this section a little to define the parameters of the case study – particular types of textile design businesses, or those who are working in a particular way (related to COVID-19 responses, choices of platforms etc.) It might also be a good idea to think about any questions you might explore or predictions you might make about your findings, but you can keep this open if you prefer.

It’s great to see you have thought through the theme in more detail. I feel like what this exercise has shown is the breadth of the scope of the questions you are asking. They are all interesting angles to explore, but it’s perhaps too much for this exercise to try and answer them all? Could you narrow down to one or maybe two of these questions? Ones which might be best placed to answer the questions you are asking of yourself about future choices, perhaps.

If you are using an exploratory approach, then it is fine to think of the case as a means of defining questions and hypotheses which could be further developed in the future and to start without a hypothesis. The questions above would be used here to explore the assumptions you are bringing to the case study. Or, an explanatory approach works from an outline of the ideas the study will explore. See the SAGE Encyclopedia (in suggested readings) for more on this.

Approach to the case study

Using different techniques, I hope to see what it is like establishing a small business. Alongside this, I aim to see if there is a difference to people’s responses whether they are on Instagram or from Facebook. 

  • Questionnaire on Instagram
    • This could be quite enlightening as I follow quite a few small print design businesses on there. This could give a broader approach to what setting up a small business is like as well as giving me numerical, quantitive data (depending on questions I ask). I feel like this is a good starting point for me, just to get an idea of an overall picture at the start of my case study. 
  • Interview a small business owner 
    • Probably the best way to get a proper insight into the creation of a business and the many roles that occur. 
  • Interview myself 
    • See how I approached creating my business. Can compare this to the interview of the business owner. 
  • Compare the differences between a small business and a larger business
    • I think this can be useful as it can show the differences between the values of each company and how they approach things differently too. I can also see how small businesses could scale up their ideas by using large business approaches.
  • Interviews with print designers online
    • Designers have given interviews over time and perhaps some insight into how they grew their businesses. 
  • Collect data from my Instagram 
    • Quantitive data approaches
    • This will give me a broad overview of the businesses available and what they are selling
  • Investigate the differences with asking these questions on Instagram or on a group platform such as Facebook
  • People on Instagram
    • Will social media alter their response
    • Why have I chosen Instagram? 
      • Hash tag research as a term for surveying
  • Focus group 
    • Dynamic group conversation 
      • Richer source of data potentially

https://www.jotform.com/data-collection-methods/ – good website on data collection methods 

Tutor comments:

This would probably be the best place to include your thinking about types of case study. We also mentioned possible considerations around conducting research on and through different platforms and how research using social media might influence the responses you receive from participants. It will be good to continue to work on clearly defining the parameters for your comparative work as you conduct both your primary and secondary research.

As above, I think there is still some work to do here on narrowing down the case – you are giving yourself lots to do! Could some or all of the work be done using secondary resources? With so much data from primary sources you may find it more difficult to develop and demonstrate critical understanding, as per the learning outcomes, and interviews are very labour intensive.

It’s also important to remember that part of the brief is asking you to use design thinking tools and methods as part of the doing of the research as well as to communicate your findings. Could you ask your participants to offer feedback on secondary research you’ve already conducted through visual methods, for example?

If you do go ahead with interviews, you will need to think about ethics and informed consent. It’s very quick to complete an ethical review form and I can provide this as well as examples of consent forms for participants. We can do this together and I can sign off the review form.

Use of visual service/design thinking tools

The most likely method I will use to present my data will be a journey map. 

  • Timelines to show the dates and the time to compare 
  • Business model canvases 
    • This can be used to compare the personal businesses and the larger businesses too
  • Creating personas behind each business
  • Creating organograms of the importance of roles within a small business
  • Some journey maps
    • Can combine the timeline format into this
    • I think this will most likely be the way I format my data in the end
  • Service blueprints can also be incorporated into this too
    • This can help people see the difference between behind the scenes and how they can come into fruition
    • Document what you are doing and the decisions you are making behind each thing
  • Empathy mapping
    • Research into this technique
  • Venn Diagram
    • Helps with the comparative nature that you want to get across in this case study

Tutor comments:

These are also potentially really useful tools to help you explore the case. It would be good to hear about any which you think might be most likely to become part of the final output and which will be more useful as ways of organising your data and ideas.

See my comments above around narrowing the scope and incorporating visual tools into the research.

Likely outcome format

The most likely format for this project will be an illustrated report. This will include the structure of:

The question I want to answer

My prediction 

My data (in whatever format I decide) 

My response to collecting that data

Analysis of the data

Answer to my question/if my prediction was correct

  • Feel like I am going to create a descriptive/exploratory style case study
    • Exploratory because I am exploring different businesses myself 
    • Descriptive because I am starting with my own theory and then are using existing examples to back up what I found in my own data
  • Illustrated report response 
    • How much do you want to frame your study in advance?
    • I want to explore the roles within a small textile business
      • Exploratory
        • Can put question and answers
        • Comparative element
          • Framework 
          • Decide framework 
      • Put a hypothesis at the beginning 
      • Put in a prediction

Tutor comments:

As I mentioned above, these comments can move up to the approaches section. Here we are looking for you to suggest a type of output for the research – an illustrated report, for example – and to explain what elements you might include.

As above, the section of questions, predictions and case study types should move up the proposal. Again, I think it might be worthwhile revisiting case study types from the course materials. The types listed in the reading can absolutely overlap, but the starting points for each type are a little different and the questions and hypotheses might be framed in different ways. See my comments at the top.

Plan of action and key milestones

Date: To Do:Other: 
MONDAY 8TH FEBRUARY 2021Plan out plan of actionWrite plan for Formative AssessmentWrite questions for interviews10th February 2021Formative Assessment
MONDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2021Data on small businesses from my Instagram Create questionnaire on InstagramFlexible Learning Week
MONDAY 22ND FEBRUARY 2021Interview a small business owner/s Interview a person starting a small business 
MONDAY 1ST MARCH 2021Business Model Canvas of a small business and a large business 
MONDAY 8TH MARCH 2021 Interview myselfLook at print designers interviews online 
MONDAY 15TH MARCH 2021Review any gaps in data collection and re-evaluate Collate dataCompare data 
MONDAY 22ND MARCH 2021Start writing 
MONDAY 29TH MARCH 2021Writing 
MONDAY 5TH APRIL 2021 WritingEaster Break
MONDAY 12TH APRIL 2021 RESTEaster Break 
MONDAY 19TH APRIL 2021 RESTRevision Week
MONDAY 26TH APRIL 2021 WritingExam Week
THURSDAY 6TH MAY 2021 Summative Assessment in by 12pm Exam WeekSummative Assessment

Tutor comments:

This is really detailed, which is great! I would also include time for collating and comparing the data you collect, and perhaps exploring visual ways to do this, before you start writing.

Also, just a note that the deadline is Monday 26 April as per the course handbook, hopefully you spotted the announcement on Learn.

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