Book: Just Enough Research by Erika Hall, published by A Book Apart.

Chapter 1

(Begins with lots of explanation of basic vs. applied vs. design research)

In design research, context is everything. Better you know the current state of things, the better you will be positioned to innovate.

User centered design:

  • Expose patterns in human behavior
  • Explore reactions
  • Shed light on the unknown.

Design research requires us to approach familiar things as if they were unknown to see clearly.

Research is not asking people what they like. Like is not part of a critical thinker’s vocab. It’s a superficial and self reported mental state.

Chapter 2

Involve people (espec. higher ups) in the research so they’ll be more likely to adopt changes.

It’s more fun to be the smart person with the insights than be told what to do by the smart person.

Doing research together makes the team more collaborative:

  • Someone needs to be the lead – keeping things on track, responsibility for the work.
  • Everybody needs to know:
    1. Purpose of research
    2. Goal “”
    3. Their role
    4. Process

Include research activities that support specific decisions we anticipate.

Begin with Generative Research – finding out what the problem is
“What’s up with the…?”

  • look at questions on social media
  • interviews
  • following people around

Next, tackle Descriptive Research – the best way to solve the problem we’ve identified
“What and how…?”

Then, Evaluative Research
“Are we getting close?”

  • Define potential solutions
  • Testing solutions – A/B testing, usability

Also, Casual Research – identify possible cause and effect relationships
“Why is this happening?”

For each project, clear identification of roles – assign them at the outset!

  • Author – plans and writes study
  • Interviewer/moderator – interacts w participants
  • Coordinator/scheduler – schedules w participants
  • Notetaker/recorder – not interviewer!
  • Recruiter – ¬†screens participants
  • Analyst – analyzes data, looks for patterns
  • Documenter – reports findings
  • Observer – a good role for higher-ups! Can watch raw footage.

Being a responsible researcher means noting your bias

  • Design – are you biased on how the test is structured?
  • Sampling – is your sample biased?
  • Interviewer
  • Sponsor – softening results to client.
  • Social desirability – looking good to client

Research rigor- best practices

  • Phrase questions well
  • Set realistic expectations upfront
  • Be prepared
  • allow enough time to analyze
  • Take notes about EvEryThing!