the yummy part for design researchers
5 weeks, 3 people
1 Secondary Research: articles/studies/etc.
2 Primary Research: online survey, in-person interviews, graffiti wall
3 Analysis/Synthesis: one-sheeters, insight statements, mental model
4 Presentation + Process Documentation.
People who have lived in more than two countries and have been immersed in and influenced by the cultures around them. We aimed to understand how this multicultural immersion influences people's identity and explore the key factors that influence people's personal sense of national identity.
How does multicultural immersion affect people's sense of national identity? What key factors influence it / which factor is most influential?
Factors that can influence people's sense of national identification are:
- Social Circle
1 secondary research
To narrow down our pool, the team defined multicultural to mean "having lived in 3+ countries for at least 1 year each." National identity was defined as a personal identification, not necessarily according to a passport.
2 ONLINE SURVEY
20 of 36 people we heard from had usable data. The # of countries lived-in ranged from 3 to 6 each. 16 of 20 spent at least 1 year in the US, 8 of which identified at least in part with the US as a national identity. Participants thought we missed two categories which influence sense of national identity: parents and location of family. Most participants left a name and email, curious about the results of our research. Ten opted in for further contact. The rest wanted more info before they agreed. In general, this reflects the willingness of our multicultural audience to speak up about their experiences.
2.2 3 in-person, 3 REMOTE Interviews
4 interviews were conducted in-person, 2 were remote. Each lasted 45min–1hr. From these personal interviews we got to really sense the confusion and rejection the interviewees felt in some of their most trying years adapting to new or familiar countries, or even their loss of direction when it comes to explaining to others "where they're from." Luckily, since we had time, they were able to exhaust their explanations instead of telling us white lies they use to get an Uber driver to stop asking ignorant questions. The interviewees tended to add more factors than people who took the online survey, but some of those could belong to existing categories.
We had the interviewees watch part of Taiye Selasi's TEDtalk (min 4:00 to 8:50) to see if prompting from another multicultural person would change any of their answers. Most of the 6 had never seen this talk before and the video generated good discussion. Most people either agreed with Taiye and/or did not change their own opinions on culture and factors influencing their sense of national identity. They did, however, agree that they would be more willing to answer where they are "local" rather than where they are "from."
Almost every participant expressed gratitude for the opportunities they had to experience multiple cultures. Even so, there was an overarching and tangible sense of a state of constant inner-confusion as well as frustration from being constantly misunderstood and labelled by the people around them. Perhaps more than anyone else, multicultural people experience the brunt of stereotypes—regardless of their personal sense of national identity, almost everyone rejects them. This is what leads the Third Culture Kids especially—the new generation of young multicultural people—to identify most as people "of the world," and perhaps the TCK are a small picture of what the world can become, of what lies in a beautiful future.