contextual inquiry, consulting


Yuzhou Gong, Ken Weinberger, Yan Wang, Eugenia Kuo


Center of Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) is an organization that provides global engagement and learning opportunities to the UMich Community. The organization is also responsible for reporting university wide "study abroad" numbers to the Institute of International Education (IIE) as a part of the annual "Open Doors" report. This report requires CGIS to gather and compile data from various schools in the university. The challenge - "To understand the issues CGIS faced while collecting data and further delve into the reasons behind the time consuming nature of the whole process"


Interviews, Models/Worflow construction, Affinity Mapping with the objective of understanding the issues confronting CGIS in the data collection and analysis processes


We interviewed people at CGIS and representatives from the schools in the university. Some of our findings from this phase were as follows.

  • CGIS send out questionnaires in the form of Excel Sheets
  • Questions in the Excel Sheet are often misunderstood
  • The whole process lacks automation and is entirely manual

Consolidate Models

To understand in detail the breakdowns in this information transfer process, we constructed flow and sequence models.

Findings from this phase were as follows.

  • Schools in the university are not very responsive
  • Schools often report inaccurate data
  • The entire exchange process is time consuming

Affinity Mapping

To further see relationships between all our findings we constructed an affinity map with our interview notes. Hierarchical organization and grouping of notes helped us see light into more issues confronting our client organization.


We compiled our findings and recommendation into a report which he handed over to our client organization.