Cultural Probe: Design and Findings – Allison Kapps

My cultural probe was based on a practitioner that was a chef.

I created a cultural prove that was simple and easy to engage with because it seemed like a lot of the people I wanted to engage were very busy. I create activities that would combine probes into the personality of an individual, their preconceived notions, and their distinct preferences. I asked three people to partake in my probe concepts, one of which was an avid cook. I could not probe the original practitioner since they were not in the country, so I found a replacement I felt could be similar.  


The activities were provided to participants in person, but they were given privacy and little to no guidance as they were completing them.

Probe 1

I used three exercises, one of which was based on Denise Anderson’s exercise for building a personal brand, whereby participants are asked to select 10 words that they feel succinctly describe who they are. This part of the probe was meant to get a good understanding of who the participant is, as well as provide insight into their behaviours.  

Probe 2

The second probe was some space delegated to the participant for writing down their favourite recipe. This was cultural probe meant to focus on a  who taught me to cook; a chef. As such, this part of the activity was meant to force participants to reflect on what they favourite type of thing to make is, which is different than simply a favourite type of food. The experience of being a chef is limited to how well and what a person can cook. For this reason, I wanted to make participants write down only what they could cook themselves, and so they had to remember their favourite recipe.

Probe 3

The third probe was an easy and fun activity, where participants had to colour in parts of the world they felt had the best food. I had participants do this last so that their reflections here would not influence their decision for their favourite recipe to make. Here, participants had to reflect on where they felt the best food was from. They could base this on their previous experiences, or just on the preconceived notions, they had in any circumstances. Their preferences would provide some insight into the type of food they preferred.


It seemed that for some participants, the types of recipes that they selected for their favourite tended to come from places that they felt had the best food. While for others, they perhaps felt there was only one dish that they liked and it did not necessarily come from any place in the world they felt had the best food. One girl indicated that she liked cooking a lentil-leek curry, an Indian dish, but she did not pick India as being a place with the best food.

Image result for lentil leek soup

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