Monday, July 25, 2011

Fieldwork DAY 17: Ready to cook!

Last Friday was the last fieldwork day which coincided, it is not a coincidence though, with the end of the schools term. There is a lot of data to analyse, I never thought I was going to get such a high amount of data.

So far I have three in-depth interviews which together represent the individuals’ perspective involved in a purchase. Moreover I collected, with Alix’s support, hundred questionnaires from six different schools in Hackney. I am very grateful to those who shared their thoughts and experiences with me, specially those who I interviewed more in-depth.

Now is time to dive into the data, analyse questionnaires and interviews and compare it with the background research. Ready... steady.... MIX!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fieldwork DAY 9: Mixing methods and changing paradigms

The intention of making field notes and the idea behind of getting more comprehensive data was very good but practically, it has been impossible for me to do it in this specific project. It seems very obvious!!! Well, probably it is obvious afterwards. I was truly motivated but whilst in the fieldwork I realised that I had enough trying to get respondents, let alone making notes at the same time!! I just could not cope with it. Just imagine the situation, I completely astonished by the wave of parents and kids going in and out of the school while trying to stop someone, and when I was able to be in touch with my own thoughts again and ready to make notes, there was almost nothing to observe except buildings or someone who has dropped behind the crowd. Therefore, I go back to the initial idea, to use just the notes we made about the school’s surroundings which actually, tell us quite a lot about how the infrastructure around schools encourages or discourages cycling.

Regarding the continuation of those interviews in which respondents do not cycle at all I just have to say that is working quite well. My hypothesis and my early feeling is that those answers from people who do not cycle at all would lead me to have a better understanding about under what conditions people could consider cycling as a mode of transport and if not why, specifically, it could give me some ideas about what can be done to encourage cycling or the use of cargo bikes. Again, data could prove me wrong.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Between edges

I have started inputting the collected data into the software I am using. It's very funny because even if it is a very mechanical task and it could be done without thinking too much, my mind does not stop analysing the questionnaires while inputting the answers already coded. The questionnaires have been designed in such a way that when someone tells me that they don't cycle at all, I immediately finish the survey, after trying to get the reason why they don't cycle; but that's all. That's the only information I'm getting from them.
At a first glance it makes a lot of sense. If I am interested in exploring the potential market for cargo bikes why should I bother getting more information from those who do not cycle at all? However, my project primarily focuses on child transport and on the understanding of bikes as a mode of transport. So perhaps, it will be interesting to know what people who don't cycle at all think about the concept of carrying kids on a bike. Why? You may be wondering....
Well, in my opinion, the understanding people have about bikes and of what can be used as a mode of transport is going to be a key element when determining wether there is a potential market in Hackney in comparison to Copenhagen. Therefore, should I bother to carry on the interviews when a person says: -"Sorry, I don't cycle at all?" I think so....
Let's try!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fieldwork DAY 5: How much information I am missing out?

The first fieldwork week just finished and now is time to reflect about it. Overall, it has been good. I managed to interview using semi-structured interviews, the owner of one of the most successful bike shops in London, Velorution; and two families who owns a cargo bike and use them, among other things, for the school runs. Moreover, I have been doing some surveys and talking to parents around some schools in Hackney: StJohn&StJames, Morningside, Rushmore, Southwold, Gayhurst and London Fields primary schools. Therefore, I can say I managed to get quite a lot of data so far so it has not been a bad starting point. However, when looking at the questionnaires and taking into account my feelings and thoughts when talking to parents I just can think about all the information I am missing out.

I believe the design of the questionnaires is well done, I really do think so. We tried out the first version during the second fieldwork day and it gave us the opportunity to improve its effectiveness as well as its accuracy so, I don't think that my issues with the development of the project are because of the design of the questionnaires but about the natural, built and social environment of the schools. I am not trying to say that the questionnaires are perfect, of course they could be improved but I feel that something else have to be taken into account to determine more accurately if there is a potential market for cargo bikes in Hackney.

To try to get more comprehensive data from next week I am going to make some field notes and see if this method complements the questionnaires and interviews and helps to create a bigger picture.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fieldwork DAY 2: Ummm...I have seen one of those before.....

Today we visited two schools, one in the morning and the other one in the afternoon. Overall, the first day has been very successful, people have been very kind to stop and talk with us. My general impression is that people is not too aware about cargo bikes but when you explain them how cargo bikes are and what are they useful for, people looks amazed and delighted by the idea, unless they think cycling is dangerous. If that is their idea, the cargo bike concept just horrified them more. The Yuba Mundo was parked next to the school gates, so unless we pointed them out, people did not notice that it was not a normal bike. Aditionally, we were carrying some pictures of cargo bikes -Bakfiets and Christiania Bike - which are more common for people to recognise. Therefore, when I showed the pictures people told me: ....oh, yeah! I have seen one of those before.