Just Enough Research
Updated on November 27th, 2018
Chapter 3: The Process
Define the problem
- Useful research study depends on a clear problem statement. Base your statement on a verb that indicates an outcome, such as “describe,” “evaluate,” or “identify.”
Select the approach
- The topic and nature of your questions will guide your choice of research activities.
Plan and prepare for the research
- Identify the point person who will keep track of everything.
- Sketch out a plan in terms of time, money, people involved and their roles, necessary materials, etc.
Recruiting is simply locating, attracting, screening, and acquiring research participants.
A good research participant:
- Shares the concerns and goals of your target users.
- Embodies key characteristics of your target users, such as age or role.
- Can articulate their thoughts clearly.
- Is as familiar with the relevant technology as your target user
Recruiting isn’t fun but it gets easier with practice:
- Use the web to cast a wide net.
- Use a screener to make sure that you’re recruiting the right
Key elements for screening:
- What are all of the specific behaviors you’re looking for?
- What level of tool knowledge and access do participants need?
- What level of knowledge about the topic (domain knowledge) do they need?
Collect the data
- Find your research subjects.
- Conduct your interviews.
- Do your field observation.
- Run your usability tests.
Materials and tools
- Use what you already have frst, and go for familiar tools.
- A simple interview remains the most eﬀective way to get inside another person’s head and see the world as they do.
- The goal is to determine to what extent the product or service as designed is usable.
Analyze the data
- Gather data and look for meaningful patterns. Turn the patterns into observations, and from those, recommendations will emerge.
- Get the team involved in analysis, include people who can contribute to a productive session or who will benefit from participating.
- Follow an explicit strucutre to make sure you cover everything and work productively.
- Acknowledge the goal is to better understand the context and the needs of the user. Focus soley on that goal.
Report the results
- Create a summary report in a sharable format.
- Keep it simple: a sketch of a persona, photos of post-its or a whiteboard is better than a lengthy report that goes ignored.
- Write a brief, well organised summary that includes goals, methods, insights and recommendations.