Course Phase 2

Digging Deeper

Key Dates

Stakeholder focus groups: to be scheduled in week commencing 8th February 2016
Fast Hack individual report (Assignment R1): due 16:00 Monday, 8th February 2016
Innovative Learning Week (no class): week commencing 15th February 2016


This phase is the transition between the initial information-gathering and problem exploration in the Fast Hack, and developing a single, more thought-through solution during the Slow Hack (Phase 3). Your team will continue to discuss, process and build on the information gained in the Fast Hack, through a combination of individual, group, and class activities.

To gain the skills and information needed to conduct a larger and more sophisticated version of the Fast Hack, we will “dig deeper” into the topics we introduced in Phases 0 and 1. These topics include data formats, data management, and extracting information from raw data; and also ethics, privacy, and methods for working with stakeholders (and analysing the results). This will involve a combination of class exercises and lectures, videos, readings, and interactive IPython online notebooks.

All teams need to further explore the possible problems/solutions they identified in the Fast Hack, and collect more information about their sub-theme. This period of “deepening” will provide a firmer foundation for launching into the Slow Hack.

Stakeholder focus groups

As part of the exploration and information-gathering process, each team will hold a small focus group with University stakeholders during Phase 2. This is essentially a discussion around specific questions, moderated by a researcher (in this case, a member of your team). Through stakeholders’ discussion with each other and the team members, there will be an opportunity to gain more information about the problem area, generate new ideas, and get preliminary feedback about ideas from the Fast Hack. Even if your team really likes an idea, stakeholders may not understand it, or may feel that it fails to address their needs.

You are advised to make video recordings of your focus group session. Video cameras, tripods and audio recording equipment can be borrowed free of charge from Learning Spaces Technology. To make a booking, you will need to send email to In your email, please specify that you are borrowing the equipment as part of the Data, Design and Society course.

The course staff will help you to organise the stakeholder focus group, and recruit participants. There will be a supported, in-class data analysis session to help you make sense of the information you collect. Your team will need to organise your own, additional design session with stakeholders during the Slow Hack. You will be expected to be much more independent during the Slow Hack, so it is essential to fully participate in the Phase 2 focus group and analysis sessions in order to learn these skills.

The following guidance documents will help you to run your focus groups:

By the End of this Phase

You should have completed all class and homework activities to equip yourself with the skills needed for the Slow Hack, including the basic skills needed to work with stakeholders.

Your team should have completed a stakeholder focus group and analysed the resulting data.

Your team should have narrowed down their ideas and identified a specific question or problem area within your sub-topic. The team can give a clear explanation of what the problem is, and explain how this choice was justified by information you have collected, including information from the stakeholder focus team.

Your team should have stored any newly collected data in accordance with approved DDS and University data management and privacy requirements.

Learning Outcomes for this Phase