local bus map

Identifying the Problem: Thematic Analysis

Vroom Vroom

In today’s session our aim was to analyse and sift through our research and data collected in the previous week. Our research mainly involved multiple interviews at various points around campus with the bid to cast a wide net over the number of transport methods available to students. We spoke to bus riders, cyclists, walkers and drivers and found that people generally mix these different methods depending on circumstance or environments. For example, one interviewee stated that they would only cycle or walk if the weather was dry and another said they would only walk to a lecture and not from one.

Our research became even more interesting once we began the process of analysing thematically. Each group member had a time limit of three minutes to convey what they had uncovered, while the remaining group members wrote short post-it notes of information they felt were important. The result from this process helped us develop the ability to focus on what was important and to narrow down our potential design space.

Here are our post-its and the groups that we put them into:


Thematic Map created from our research interviews.

We thematically organised our notes and they resulted in the following themes:

  • Value
  • Time
  • Experience
  • Motivation
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Weather

This form of qualitative research has been beneficial by allowing us to identify common patterns and to assign possible meaning to results. We also found that a number of our findings overlapped, this was crucial in identifying a common problem.

As mentioned in a previous post and in a recent interview: ‘Sometimes the people who live closer to UWE have more of a problem; these are the people who struggle with the use of public transport at peak times.’

Stress Map

Map showcasing local UWE buss stress area. (ref. First Bus Map)

We found that a number of the people we interviewed often walked to the next stop if the bus was late or had a substantial waiting time. I believe there is interesting psychological motivation behind doing this. Why walk when you’ll be waiting the same amount of time? Maybe the reason is the illusion of doing something instead of nothing? Or maybe there is similar resulting feeling here to those who said they felt ‘great/healthy/proud/awake’ after cycling or walking to university.

Another common problem was that buses were unreliable and this is why many often decide to walk or cycle instead, especially when a number of full buses drive past before a 9am.

To conclude, it’s clear and ironic that the main annoyances are experienced by those who live closer to UWE. Although common bus related angst exist through the whole route, it is sensible to assume from our research that buses are not fun, uncontrollably and frustratingly unreliable, slower than cycling and not a great way to start your day.

As a result our plan is to encourage students to walk, even if it’s only to the next bus shelter, that 5 minutes could create enough pride and motivation to persuade more walking – increasing physical activity and reducing carbon foot prints. This therefore is our design space.


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