Published on February 22, 2014
Anchor Faculty: Mamata Rao Anindita Saha Apoorva Jain DRE Neelam Gulrajani Parul Joshi DDE Noopur IID Research Methodology 11 January 2013
Introduction Role of Refrigerators in Everyday Life The refrigerator, colloquially known as fridge, is a common household appliance that allows the modern family to keep food fresh for longer than before and is found in almost every home these days. With changing times, it has become a necessity today. Without it, day-to-day life can come to a stand still. But a fridge is not just a fridge any more. It is much more. Thus, this research aims to look at the surroundings of a refrigerator instead of the inside to understand the role of refrigerators in everyday life. From past obversations, it has been gathered that people tend to decorate the fridge with magnets, family pictures and stickers. Keys and cookery books also find place on top of the refrigerators probably for easy access. The objective of the present study was to identify usage patterns in common households by comparing the variables identified in the initial research. The key idea was to look for valuable insights and identify design opportunities, if any. Assuming the secondary usage of refrigerators is limited to decorative purposes, the question for research is what are the alternate uses of a refrigerator in a typical household. The scope of the study involves the examination of the surroundings of a refrigerator in a typical household. Due to time constraint, the sample size was quite small and homogenous in terms of geographic location. The study was limited to the utilisation of space on and around a refrigerator.
Procedure The research approach adapted was a mix of both quantitative and qualitative methods, the primary methods being photo documentation and non-participatory observation. Platinum City, being a congregation of families at large, was selected as the means to reach the target participants. Further, snowball strategy was incorporated to touch base with more suitable participants. A total of 52 households participated in the research with varied number of occupants. The sample largely included families, only a negligible number of bachelor occupants could be included. The researcher’s role was limited to conducting a small interview with the family and documenting the observations by means of notes and photographs. The main concentration remained on documenting the various uses a refrigerator and space around it had been put to. The top surface of the refrigerator, i.e., was extensively used to keep numerous items while the front surface had more things than the assumptions. The effect of the positioning of the refrigerator within the house on the utilisation was also profoundly studied. Data Collected (Sample Size: 52 Households) Members Location Location of Fridge in terms of dynamics Categories Effects of Location on Usage Color
Analysis The data collected was analysed at different levels and in different ways. 1. 2. Level 1 Item categorisation on the basis of location Refrigerator top Side Front Accessories Item categorisation on the basis of usefulness • Utility : Objects of daily use • Forgettables : Objects which we tend to forget • Emotional : Objects which possess emotional value • Decorative : Objects placed for the purpose of decoration • Reminders : To-do lists, Pending bills, Event invites • Eatables : Readymade items which one can just pick and eat, e.g., biscuits or juices 3. Sample segregation on the basis of location in the house • In Kitchen • At Kitchen Entrance • In Hall 4. Sample segregation on the basis of occupant’s native • North • South • East & West 1. Level 2 Color coding items on the basis of usefulness in individual households A combination of Level 1 and Level 2 analysis
Color 1.9% White Grey Dark Grey Red Blue 39.6% of the sample preferred light grey color for their refrigerators while 26.4% opted for white. Blue was the least favored color. *All results are entirely dependent on the small sample size. They may vary in case of a larger sample.
Categories 36% of items on or around a refrigerator are utility based.The presumption that no. of decorative items in the surroundings will be highest was rendered incorrect. Decorative items were far less in comparison being only 18.1%, same as forgettables. *All results are entirely dependent on the small sample size. They may vary in case of a larger sample.
Effects of Location on Usage In the above graph, one can deduce that a larger no. ob utility items are present on the fridge kept at the kitchen entrance. Hence, as per the study, kitchen entrance comes out as the most dyamic location. Also, no. decorative items present is higher on refrigerators located in the Hall of the house, secondary only to the kitchen entrance. *All results are entirely dependent on the small sample size. They may vary in case of a larger sample.
Location v/s No. of Members No. of Members As per the findings from the previous graph study, Kitchen entrance is the most dynamic location. It was further assumed that in cases of larger families, i.e., more than 4 members, the refrigerator will most likely be located in the kitchen entrance. Hence proved. *All results are entirely dependent on the small sample size. They may vary in case of a larger sample.
Future Improvements The study resulted in satisfactory results given the small sample size of 52 households. A larger sample size would have certainly led to more credible findings. More diversity in samples in terms of no. of members, cultural differences and geograohical location would have resulted in more valuable insights
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