hi, .
for the water purification plus dispenser unit i am designing i need to research into what the onlookers, (visitors, people in general) think is Pur Water. How should a glass full of water, without any textual or graphic indication ‘tell’ the onlooker " I am Pure". Transparency is one thing!
But even if we have some metaphors for pure water, what are they.

How acan i research intto that. As a student i have limited exposure to research methods but one i was thinking of was using a voice recorder. I would go out in public pplaces and colleges and ,markets and ask people to quickly speak out what they think of black, mouse, color, pencil, grass… purewater…mobile, etc. I have read somewhere that such replies come from intuitive faculties of the mind and are seyt in the subconscious. The effect that i am looking for in the project is also in the direction of aesthetic rupture so may be cud help.
Plz… any suggestions!


For what it is worth, I have done a lot of ethnographic research in this area and found that with water, one of most powerful signals of perceived “purity” is oddly enough, temperature. Cold water, even if it is not totally “pure” is percieved to be more pure than warm water that actually is pure.

There have been loads of studies about water done in recent years because water filtration and purification have become big business. As far as methodology, we conducted diary studies where we asked people to keep track of their water use for a 48-hour period, and then we did follow-up interviews with them in which they took us through their diaries.

I haven’t heard of this top of mind methodology that you are describing, so I can’t comment on it specifically.

Here’s one you can consider - build a bunch of stimuli - i.e., images that you can show - probably on cards, not on a computer screen. Stimuli that are related to senses

  • transparency to cloudiness
  • hot to cold
  • clean to dirty
  • black to white to blue to pink etc
  • sweet to sour
  • modernist to classical

ie, don’t stack the deck but just build a range of things.

Find 3 to 5 people and speak to them individually, take maybe 20 minutes each. Do it with people that you know enough that you can ask them this favor but don’t do best friend or girlfriend/boyfriend, but someone for whom you don’t know their every thought.

Ask them to lay the cards out in terms of "Pure and “Impure” - it could be two piles or it could be a continuum from left to right - you’ll have to try it and see.

And ask them to talk about what they are doing as they do it - when they are done, go through every card and ask them to talk about WHY it ended up where it did.

You are doing two things - you are testing your own hypothesis - ie the cards you chose are represnting something you’ve already thought about for purity, but you are also giving the people a chance to see something in the cards that you didn’t intend and give voice to those thoughts. Ideally you’ll walk away with a rough but conceptual structure of the attributes and cues of purity.

You’ll want to test the exercise out with someone first to see if it actually works; to see if people actually will “go there” in the exercise.

Something to consider, anyway.

thanx stevep,that was a real help for my project, I guess the method does make sense and shall surely work in my case. I am off to making it practical.THanx