Pattern Recognition

You've collected a lot of data possibly from interviews, and now you need to structure your knowledge and identify patterns that cover key themes so your data can be communicated clearly. The method is valuable because it is based on, and maintains, what has been observed in the real world. This method works from the bottom-up and is based on the users’ statements and own observations, possibly from interviews, to subsequently structure the statements and find patterns in the data. The patterns should identify themes  that ideas can be generated from.


Tell about key findings from the meeting with the user based on your field notes. An observation can be, "Julie thinks she can earn up to 40,000 extra, which is not taxable" Use quotes from users whenever possible. You can play selected clips from interviews. If you have pictures from the field, then print them out and set them up - it creates empathy. You have ten minutes to present each user. Make sure to keep the time.

The others in the group doodle away on post-its with analytical statements and perspectives that comes to mind, during the presentation. Just write away. Be sure to write only one point on each post-it as they need to be moved around. The post-its are then put on a flip-over before the next user presentation.


Now, look at all the statements that you have written on post-its and fill in the template. Examples of statements that can be assembled across:

  • "It's not just a financial transaction but also a social"
  • "A social contact which commits both user and provider to take care of what is shared"
  • "Both user and provider emphasizes that a shared economy universe is based on social contracts"

​​​​​​​Collect them in patterns, so post-its related to the same theme, are together.


Give the pattern a thematic headline that identifies and summarizes a key conclusion. For example: "The Social Contract"


Finish with at least three themes.