{post 7} the process of mapping.

mapping process. reflection. judith tan.

(Julie 2016)

Before I scraped the web, for over a period of two to three weeks, the homelessness collaboration group I am working with went through several brainstorming sessions to write and map out what we had individually learned thus far. The purpose was to gain different and broader perspectives from each other’s research and points of view.

{emotive words}

The five of us brainstormed as many words as we could think of in related to homelessness, especially regarding what each of us think, what we have read and how others talk about the issue. As a lot of us tend to think better in writing, we first individually wrote down all our ideas.

{own initial individual brainstorming} (Tan 2016)

We then wrote down all our words onto sizeable pieces of paper. In order to be comprehensive without repeating any words, we went through the alphabet and called out our words to each other as we wrote them down on the paper pieces. We then laid them all out across two tables.

{related words} (Yanovsky, Grieve, Dakkak, Stollery & Tan 2016)

Looking over our large collection of words, we zoomed into the more emotive words and initialed the five which stood out to us. Below are the words I chose.

{chosen related words} (Yanovsky, Grieve, Dakkak, Stollery & Tan 2016) insecurity, future, inequality, assumptions, circumstantial.

From the words which had at least one initial, we narrowed them down to the ones we felt significant to our issue.

{group’s chosen words narrowed down} (Yanovsky, Grieve, Dakkak, Stollery & Tan 2016)

After that, we mapped out the human and non-human stakeholders involved in homelessness. We placed them from most powerful to least in terms of their amount of influence in the issue.

We then took the twenty-four words we had previously narrowed down, and wrote them around all the stakeholders to which they related.

{map 1 – initial stakeholders & power map} (Yanovsky, Grieve, Dakkak, Stollery & Tan 2016)

We met up outside of class in order to do more thorough mapping. We mapped out the controversies regarding the issue of homelessness.

{map 2 on controversies in progress} (Yanovsky, Stollery & Tan 2016)

Below are the controversies which came to mind.

{map 2 in progress} (Yanovsky, Stollery & Tan 2016)

We then identified some of the different sides of each controversy.

{map 2 in progress} (Yanovsky, Stollery & Tan 2016)

After that, we pinpointed some of the emotions which are involved in each controversy.

{map 2} (Yanovsky, Stollery & Tan 2016)

We then chose one controversy to explore further. We mapped out the actors and stakeholders in the issue, separating them into human and non-human players.

{map 3} (Yanovsky, Stollery & Tan 2016)


The process of mapping was very informative, in that it opened up new ways in which to approach and research the issue of homelessness, as well as helping me realise the value of collaboration with others when brainstorming and mapping.

When we shared with each other the words we had brainstormed regarding what we had learned, it was eye-opening to see the different words each of us brought to the group, reflective of the different articles we had read, the different passions and focusses we had, as well as the perspectives and opinions we each held as individuals. The more emotive words proved to be most insightful in this regard, and it was these words to which we narrowed down. It was also helpful to look at the issue from an emotive point of view, as it is has been easy to merely approach it from a somewhat impersonal and detached position.

Mapping the stakeholders in relation to how much power they have in the issue of homeless was also helpful. It made me realise that the issue is even more complex than I had previously thought – many stakeholders are involved, and many have influence regarding the issue, whether positive, negative, or both. Writing emotive words around the stakeholders was also insightful. Seemingly clinical and unemotional words describing stakeholders took on new meaning with the emotive descriptors.

In terms of mapping stakeholders and actors, and also the controversies of the issue, it was quite a new experience. I had not previously done this kind of mapping, nor have I mapped before the emotions and other aspects related to an issue in such thoroughness (and can see how we could have delved even further had it not been for time constraints).

Co-creating maps with my peers was also a good experience. While I like working with other people, I have found that brainstorming on my own is usually the most effective and efficient. However this time, I found that everyone had different but valid perspectives. It was good to have more than one view when thinking through various issues.

It was helpful in learning and digging into different research methods, as well as collaborating with others. I will definitely be using different mapping methods in the future as well as seeking other’s points of views to add to the maps, in order to create more informed design solutions.

As for how the mapping process has informed my approach to the issue, I have since seen the influence of mapping. Not so much in the content of what we mapped, but more in how we mapped. I am starting to think deeper and more thoroughly as I further explore the issue. I have started to look into other avenues which I had not previously considered, for example with my data scraping which I did soon after the mapping exercises, where I analysed Facebook posts in various aspects, including emotions and how they play a part in an issue.


{title image}

FP Julie. 2016, Time to Start a Journal, Bloglovin’, viewed 27 September 2016, <https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/free-people-blog-237509/just-write-its-time-to-start-a-journal-4019101685>.

Yanovsky, M., Grieve, A., Dakkak, Z., Stollery, A., & Tan, J. 2016, Mapping

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