Probes can be used to gather inspirational rather than factual information from users. They give insights in peoples lives, values and thoughts.
Assemble a cultural probes kit and distribute it to the users. The kit can contain activities, questions and/or assignments that give you insight and inspiration on the topic you are interested in. After a period of time, collect the results and discuss them together with the user.
A prepared cultural probes kit (e.g. camera, diary, instructions, coloured pens, stickers, exercises, etc.).
A small group of users who are willing and able to spend the time and creativity to do the activities over a period of time.
Assignments, questions and exercises that are fun for the participants to do.
A willingness to remind users regularly about their assignments so they also return the kit.
Cultural probes can be inspirational and give a great insight in peoples lives. They are particularly useful in open-ended design projects or projects covering sensitive topics.
Universal methods of design (Martin & Hannington , 2012) spend a couple of pages about cultural probes In the Dutch version: chapter 24, p54-55
A thorough how-to guide for probing is found in Design Probes, the PhD thesis of Tuuli Mattelmäki. Chapter 3 & 4. P39-100.
The chapter on Diary Studies, in Observing the User Experience (Goodman, Kuniavsky, Moed, 2012) gives a lot of background information that is relevant to cultural probes. Chapter 9, p211-241
Likewise the chapter on generative tools & techniques in the Convivial toolbox (Sanders & Stappers, 2013). Chapter 3 p64-74 give much background information