How to organise a Mapping Session
1. Research Question
The first step in organising a mapping session is to think of a research question. MAP-it can be used to deconstruct a project (e.g. "How was our workflow organized in the last project and what could be improved?") or envision a future project or space (e.g. "How should our neighbourhood look like?")
When defining a research question, it can be helpful to observe the context or situation and establish a clear goal. If you want to see what kind of questions we worked on, check out our reports from previous mappings.
2. Invite Participants
Think about the participants and moderators you want to invite. Consider several types of stakeholders (users, people with a specific competence, organisations, etc.). Your conclusions will be enriched by the multitude of perspectives. Mapping works well with up to 8 participants per group, so you might have to divide the participants into two or more groups. Each group receives sticker sheets in a different colour. MAP-it includes a game-like system to comment and add to other groups´s maps.
3. Mapping Scenario & Kit
Define a well-timed mapping scenario, in which the components of the research question are brought to the surface. The next step is to assemble a MAP-it kit, which consists of a A0-sized background and a set of sticker sheets. The background paper can simply be blank or a visualization of the context - like a floor plan or city map. Choose a MAP-it kit sticker sheet and modify it to suit your needs with our online editing tool. The system can generate a convenient PDF-file for you with a colour for each group.
4. Production and Supplies
Reserve a venue to do the mapping session. On your shopping list should be pens, beverages and snacks, a timer and documentation material such as a camera and possibly a beamer to project the scenario. We developed special custom cut removable sticker sheets that contain stickers of various sizes on a printable A4-page. You can do without them, but they save much time compared to cutting sticker sheets by hand. Contact us for pricing and delivery information.
During the mapping session, each group needs a moderator: a person who makes sure the mapping session runs smoothly.
The moderators need a solid understanding of the MAP-it system. Brief them so they are able to:
- Introduce the theme and research question
- Explain how MAP-it works
- Keep track of time and the scenario
- Explain icons and labels
6. MAP-it day
When participants arrive to the venue they are told which group/table they are assigned to. The organiser welcomes everybody and explains the context, goal and research question of the mapping session. Then it’s up to the moderators to guide and time the participants of their table. When each group has finished its map, they choose a presenter which moves with the map to another table. There, the presenter explains the map and the other group gives feedback and adds to the map. At the end of the sessions, each presenter gives a 5 minutes summary of the conversation.
It's advised to share your MAP-it kit and scenario and to write a report on the mapping. In this way, your participants can benefit from and re-use (the material of) the mapping. If there were several mapping groups, it's an option to summarise the maps and results in a text or a summary map. Such a summary map would be a good background for a possible follow-up mapping session.
You can use the MAP-it toolkit and adapt it to your own research question. It should be possible to do it by yourself. However, our researchers can guide you through the complete MAP-it process: from defining a research question to customizing a designed MAP-it kit. We can also moderate your workshop. So, feel free to contact us.