Co-Design Research Plan:
Preparing Immigrant Youth
for Higher Education
Co-Design Plan

🙆‍♂️Participants: Myself
🕓November 2020 — December 2020
📦Deliverable: A complete outline of a feasible co-design research plan
Project Brief:
Under the leadership of Professor Elizabeth Sanders, this project aims at establishing a hypothetical co-design research plan with the goal of gathering key insights that will serve as a catalyst to potential design solutions. The plan outlines the focus and scope of the research, the stakeholders involved in it, the primary & secondary research necessary for understanding them, research methods, timeline of plan, and goals.
Research Objective: 
Outlines the necessary steps for a successful co-design research project aimed at gathering insight that helps us better understand the needs of immigrant youth and their families upon arriving to the United States.
Acting as a proxy for those in need
User insight and Personal experience
To care or to cure? 
Due to my lived experiences as an immigrant, I had a unique perspective that allowed me to navigate the topic confidently, and empathize with the stakeholders as someone who has lived through their experience. In other words, I approach this topic as a proxy for those that I aim aiming to care for.

Immigrant high school students are the front and center stakeholders of this research plan. Gabriela represents one of the diverse characters and scenarios that the plan accounts for and aims to help.

Primary stakeholder persona: Immigrant High School Student

Exploring current experiences
Journey Mapping 
Scenarios familiar to immigrant students
To come to a better understanding of students' experiences I tabled the current journey map of common scenarios that a stakeholder such as Gabriela might experience. The map is a collection of five scenarios that capture the surprise, anxiety, and relief of Gabriela as she's introduced to different components of the American school system. Her sense of being informed and in control is one of the most important frustrations we are attempting to solve.

While such journey mapping is most properly done following analysis of primary research, I believe that this table is a useful tool for familiarizing ourselves with the needs and frustrations of our primary stakeholders. 
Maximizing participant recruitment 
As it is pointed out in the plan, recruiters and facilitators are expected to be familiar with the the sensitive nature of the research topic. With the encouragement of my professor, due to my personal experience as an immigrant and a member of a robust ethnic community, I took the opportunity to explicitly outline the process of recruitment as it would happen in a community similar to my own.

A sophisticated and detailed version of this method is presented in the bellow PDF.
The final deliverable 
PDF of the complete co-design plan
The following PDF is the complete version of the co-design plan and the final deliverable. The document introduces the scope and focus of the project, details a sophisticated plan of participant recruitment, expands on the importance of its stakeholders, justify the methods of research it recommends, lay out a timeline of events, and much more. 
Post Project
Conclusion + Reflection
What did the process teach me?
Empathy for the stakeholders isn't enough sometimes; sometimes, to truly understand and advocate for the needs of the disadvantaged ones we must be willing to become their proxy; and I'm thankful I was able to learn what that means during this project.
While my personal experience creeps up in every corner of this project, it was important for me to communicate and consider the experiences of my peers.

The future of this plan
While a hypothetical plan, this research project was created to demonstrate and strengthen my understanding of the co-design process, and while there are no present plans to execute it, the plan itself is feasible.

This co-design plan is meant to serve as a catalyst for change. Through this document I hope I established a detailed break down of the steps necessary to begin a process whose insights will lead to bettering the lives of countless high school students across America.
Thank you for your time!
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