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Design Research

Time-line analysis

Timeline Analysis :

A timeline usually is a visualization of critical moments or events  in a chronological order. It is an instrument with which you can collect, order and analyze data from the past. The construction of a timeline can be very helpful to get to know a given organization,  situation or policy context. 

For a design researcher  it is not the timeline as such that he is after, but the timeline is a helpful  instrument for further research with  the individual entrepreneur or with the various parties or stakeholders concerned. Based on an understanding of the past, the dialogue concerning  future innovations or solutions can be developed. The goal is not so much to get the chronological overview of events but to understand the (psychological/social/political) processes underlying specific decisions or actions taken. The ‘when’ question is relevant, but only in combination with the ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘which’ and  ‘how’  questions. In this way the timeline analysis is an instrument for sense-making  and a manner  to discover the  meaning  associated with past events. In the case of various stakeholders a timeline can be a means to make an inventory of conflicting interests and power issues at stake.

NB 1: A timeline analysis of diary data is also called a timeline analysis. This is not what is meant in the text above.

NB 2: time-budget research is research into the amount of time a person spends at a specific task or activity. This is also not what is meant in the text above.