Researching Imaginaries

Fernando and I taking turns running the students through the activities.
Top results that pop-up when “qualitative research video gaming” is googled.
Figuring out the steps to setting up a research project with the students

Frame problem > Identify audience > Develop screener > Find interviewees > Interview > Insight synthesis > Concept development

The rest of the activities follow this series of steps. In turn, the students are walked through framing their problem, in this case which aspects of their characters they’d like to further develop. This is where the preliminary concepts come in handy, the adjectives and backstories students have had to come up with become their research topics.

The Results

The outcomes were captivating. Going in, I assumed the insights would only be used to improve the character’s relatability or believability, instead, the students did a great job weaving their insights into multiple facets of the storytelling. There were four types of experience-crafting devices the insights were applied to: game mechanic, story arc, character backstory, and character visual design. Bellow are some examples:

Student presenting her project.

The Skybridge

Key question: “How do you deal with sadness?”

Mr. Switvicks

Key question: “When you were young, what did you destroy?”

Cyborg vs. Overpopulation

Key question: Have you ever come to question your upbringing?

The most loyal companion

Key question: “What does loyalty mean to you?”

Students’ feedback on the workshop.



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Hugo Pilate

Hugo Pilate


Design researcher trying to make sense of the world we’ve built for ourselves.