How it works
This website aims to facilitate the use of Relief Maps through the possibilities created by new technologies. The Relief Maps were designed to be produced on paper (see About Relief Maps), but this hindered their use with large samples and also involved certain difficulties in managing and viewing data. This website provides the maps as a digital tool for the study of social inequalities from an intersectional, geographical and emotional perspective, using technology to facilitate the tasks of data collection, codification, transcription, results analysis and viewing.
The website facilitates the use of Relief Maps for two basic purposes:
1. Creating projects using an original model of Relief Maps.
On the website, users can create their own Relief Map project for academic research, for administration, organization and business management consultancy projects, for teaching and for social action in associations and collectives, among others.
The website makes creating a project easy. In the Create section, you can create your own model of map, send a link to project participants and, entering as a user, view all the Relief Maps that have been made and download them as a PDF or Excel spreadsheet containing all the data that have been provided.
First you have to create a user account to access this function. The topics available for designing an original model are:
- What axes do you want to work with? From an intersectional perspective, each axis is relevant as an element of people’s experiences, whether in relation to oppression or privilege. Thus, gender, age, sexual orientation, social class, religious identity, ethnicity and disability are axes that come together in the situation experienced by people, even if this is more intense for some than for others. A number of preset axes are proposed, but new ones can always be created for the context and the research questions. For instance, the topics of language, ideology or nationality could be incorporated as axes to work with. It should be borne in mind that the more axes that are included, the more complex the Relief Map becomes. This means that although the map might produce more detailed results, it would be more time-consuming for people making their own map.
- What spaces are being studied? Place is a key dimension in the Relief Maps, but this can be considered in a wide variety of ways. Researchers might want to give participants free choice of relevant spaces for everyday life, or they might prefer participants to give answers about specific places, such as "home" or "work". Areas (such as health or education) can also be selected but without specifying a specific place. Spaces can also be included, not as physical places but as social environments, such as "relation with my partner", "family" and "friendships". Thus, either specific places can be selected or they can be left open for participants to choose. On this point too, the more that are included, the more complex it gets.
- What elements do you want to be included? Relief Maps, in their initial conception, only permitted written data in a table that related identities and places (see About Relief Maps) and the final map. However, using the website, each identity and place has a fixed section in which the person can write how they feel ("how do you feel about being a young person at work?") but participants can also be asked to associate specific emotions from a list. This means, for instance, that once the data are available for analysis, a search can be made for profiles of people saying they feel "afraid" and the spaces where this occurs. Participants can also be asked to express themselves with emoticons. They have to put a dot higher up or lower down in relation to the comfort or discomfort they feel in each place and for each identity.
- What data do you intend to collect? There is also an option to ask for profile details from interviewees. These data never appear in the final maps, because the aim is not to use social categories (such as man, woman, trans) for viewing, but for power structures (gender). However, some research might require knowing how people identify themselves on the different axes. For this reason, the requested profile elements can also be selected. Preset options are available, but they can always be edited, selected and added to. Thus, the profile data axes do not necessarily need to match the axes on the Relief Map. For instance, a map might be created on issues of disability and gender, but profiles might ask for other data, such as age, sexual orientation and origin.
2. Using Relief Maps based on previously created models.
If the aim is not to create a new, very specific Relief Map project, then a quick and easy option is to use the models provided on the website home page. The options are more restricted but cover a number of different topics and are very easy to use. All you need to do is read the characteristics of each model, choose the one that best matches your specific needs and click on Use model. People who receive the link can fill in their own map and also receive the data.
This option means people can make their own Relief Maps by clicking on Take part in one of the pre-designed models. This function is designed to show users how the maps work and allow people to do the exercise without having to create a project or receive data from other participants.