Cultural probes are a data-collection tool in which users are given the resources to document personal experience. Probes are typically kits or materials issued for an extended time to people in a target environment so that they may return their documentations later as dynamic consumer insight. The central principle is self-documentation by the participants.
Select participants with unique access/perspective
Determine objectives/desired outcomes and strategy
Provide materials for documentation (ei. journal, camera, digital materials etc.)
Open lines of communication for monitoring probes and guiding the process
This research tool is inconspicuous and often generates the most authentic insights from an environment or stakeholder group. Cultural vulnerabilities are still respected using such probes, but the willing participants provide access and perspectives to some experiences that are traditionally unreachable.