The topic of New Year's Eve (NYE) poses some challenges for research in early November. It is not yet New Year's Eve, people are not thinking about New Year's Eve, and the weather is not very similar to that on New Year's Eve. However, I valiantly pushed forward to complete this assignment.
Because I realized that my ability to "observe" and "experience" would be limited, I tried to "ask" a little more. I created a brief Google form survey about NYE and posted the link on Facebook. The results were interesting and heart-warming, even if they were a bit dull from a research standpoint. I asked for best and worst NYE memories and well as an idea of a perfect NYE, in addition to what traditions they've partaken in. Answers had a wide range, but the trend was that NYE is about spending time with friends and family, and most memories centered on interactions with other people. Most answered the questions well, but didn't yield many unique insights into challenges facing NYE participants. Without a doubt, I was not asking the right questions. In the future, I would try to ask questions that are designed to reveal challenges the respondents have faced. Perhaps "What is the most frustrating thing about NYE?" or "Explain your process of preparing for NYE."
"My favorite New Year's Eve memory is losing my virginity."
"I shot myself in the face with a party popper when I was very young, and it scared me half to death. I didn't go near a party popper for years."
"[My favorite memory is] the TV going out five seconds before the ball dropped. It was amusing and brought the group together."
The full results are found here. New Year's Eve (Responses).pdf
THINGS I LEARNED:
- Nearly everybody has celebrated NYE at some point
- I'm rather bad at designing surveys
I, of course, also conducted the three required interviews. I recorded them on video to free myself from having to take notes.
Andy: senior student, Community Advisor Andy lives in the U.S. with his immediate family, but the rest of his family is in Egypt. NYE has always been an intensely familial holiday for him. His family always shared memories and challenges from the past year as they waited for midnight, and his parents never let him go to parties with friends.
Wunmi: sophomore student, someone I'd never talked to before Wunmi is from Ghana, and never celebrated NYE as a child. In the U.S., she has stayed up to watch the ball drop, but she considers the most of the holiday to be "awkward" because she doesn't have a lot of people to celebrate with and she's worried about getting home after midnight. She would like there to be local ball drops to make it easier to attend.
Kevin: sophomore student, neighbor Kevin feels that holidays are mostly overrated. However, he has celebrated NYE and became rather intoxicated last year. He thinks resolutions are stupid and gets frustrated when people who resolved to lose weight flood the gym and don't use proper etiquette.
From this research I arrived at the following problem statements:
Kevin needs a way to work out without being bothered by these new gym members (at least until they quit or learn the ropes) because people make resolutions to lose weight and then go to the gym for the first time,
Wunmi needs a way to experience the excitement of the ball drop closer to home because she thinks it would be really fun but Times Square is too far away.