This module was created as an extension of the social capital chapter (included in the Educator’s Guide). Below, we provide a theoretical and practical basis for organizing a research walk with the workshop participants.
Knowledge module [75 – 85 minutes]
Discussion [10 minutes]
A research walk is an interactive field method. It encourages participants to actively engage in research (observational research, etc.). Educators have the opportunity to ask participants their opinions and ideas on specific topics without the limitations of a classroom or meeting room.
Exercise [35-40 minutes]
Preparing a Research Walk
Divide participants into 2 random groups. Delegate to each group the task of finding the accessibility of the workshops location (school, office building) for one of the following groups of people:
• Wheelchair bound persons
• The blind
Your task is to improve the accessibility of your building for people with disabilities.
Ask the groups to prepare guidelines for the research walk. Although list can be long, a few things should be included:
–list of physical objects to check,
–if the group chooses to do so, appoint a leader
–list of items needed during walk (e.g. camera, notepads, etc.)
Then ask groups to draw a simple map indicating the points they have decided to visit during their walk. There should be stairs, sills, light switches, toilet, hallways, etc. indicated on the maps. Ask groups to plan a route that takes between 30-90 minutes.
Remind groups of any important elements missing on their guidelines or map. Allow 15 minutes for groups to prepare their walks.
Assemble both groups when guidelines and maps are finished; be sure to remind them of their time limit.
Reflection & Discussion [20-25 minutes]
When both groups return to the room, have the teams reflect on their walk.
Auxiliary questions for discussion:
– Did the guidelines include the most important issues that were required in preparation of this walk?
– Would you change anything about your walk or the preparation?
– Was the route planned out properly?
–What were the most significant components you observed about your group during the walk? (Question to be asked for both group members and the optional group leader)
– Do you see the possibility of using this technique in your daily life, work or school?
Recommendations for the Educator
1. Make sure groups keep in mind any breaks they make take during the walk.
2. The group should have a maximum of 10 people. Multiple groups can be assigned the same topic.
3. The research walk can be carried out at different times of day and weather conditions, because it affects what draws our attentions.