Which Research Method I Should Use?

User research is a crucial part when we want to developing our products and give it more value to the user. There are many different research methodologies, so how do we decide it?

To make you clear I decide to do some research about it on the medium article, and here we go.

Before conduct the research, I always told by my Lecturer that we need to know what is the goal we want to achieved because it was a crucial thing to do. The goal will define what step we need to take, to conduct a proper research, make it more efficient and effective.

Let’s say that there is a problem when users eating in the restaurant? And we want to know what exactly the user problem. So, what will you do? Will you ask randomly person to achieve your goal? That won’t solve it.

The next step after knowing your goal is to question yourself about the information you need. Why is it important? Do i need this information? Is it bad to do that? Or something else. When you already prepare the information you want to achieve, it will make you easier to choose the best research methodologies.

A slight adjustment to ‘the Squiggle’ Design Process diagram by Damien Newman

For example, let’s say that you were building an apps that helps people to choose their travel destination, here are some information that comes in my mind (at the moment I’m writing this article) :

  1. I want to know who is exactly my user? What archetype do they have?
  2. Are there any problems when the user want to decide the destination?
  3. What are the information needed by the user at the moment they want to decide the destination? Is it food? Is it the hotel? Is it the destination route? Or is it something else?
  4. Is the money matter to them? Or they doesn’t care at all?
  5. Let’s say if someone want to use the travelling agent, why they are willing to use their service?
  6. How they usually do their trip?
  7. Do they have a unique preferences over the trip?
  8. I want to know the whole thing before they decide to starting a trip and choosing over the destination
  9. Let’s say what if after one day and some of their friend want to join their trip?
  10. I want to know why they choose this destination over the other destination? Is there any motivation behind their action? Or there are something else that bugged their mind?
  11. What would they say if we provide them the information about the places? Are they willing to choose their own destination route or they still use the travelling agent? If so, then why the make that choice?
  12. With whom they usually travel? Or they prefer travelling alone? Why?
  13. Why? Why? Why?

Keep asking question like that, when all of those question out of your mind it will make things clear and easier. But the point here is, there will be a chance that you will use different methodology to achieved each answer based on that question. So what should I do next?

Choosing a Research Methodology

Yeah, when you already define the problem and the information that you need it’s time to look for the best method. But, you will still need to ask these following question to choose the methodology. Why? It will help and guide you to choose the right decision for your goal.

What is the thing you want to know better? Is it the user or the product? Or do you want to know both of them?

User research is all about the user — how is their lifestyle, their demographic, what is their interest, what sort of problem they have which is related to your research and how they usually overcome the problem. Common user research methodologies are ethnographic in nature, including interviews, diary studies, and user shadowing.

Product research is for when you’re already have a product and you want to know more about the user from when they used your product. You want to know how they interact with your product — as well as their problem, how often they used, what is their motivation to used it, what makes them like your product and you could potentially improving your product by the data you collect from them. Common product research methodologies are usability testing, research with ex-users to understand why they aren’t use your product, or customer journey to see what process people go through when using your product — as well as their thought and feeling of each step from your product.

Generative research will help you come up with a new ideas to you product’s feature based on the user insights. The focus of this research is about discovery, exploration and empathy.

But, you need to be more selective about this ideas because it comes from the users assumption and opinion which is needed to be validated more with your research team.

Evaluative research is for when you already have the product and you want to find out if it’s good or not. It’s more likely to test out your product to the user. When they have problems, try to define what is their critical pain point so you can generate a new ideas and create a new solution to solve their problem.

Which one you need to know? What is happening or why is it happening?

What topics— will mostly bring you to the measurements and analytics topic. Mostly they used a quantitative research for this topics. Common UX research methods that can provide quantitative data are surveys, a/b or multivariate tests, click tests, eye tracking studies, and card sorts.

Why topics — are about understanding user motivations and problems. Mostly they used a qualitative research are needed for this topics. Common UX research methods that can provide qualitative data are usability tests, interviews, diary studies, focus groups, and participatory design sessions.

For example “what they like about this apps?” Some of them might say because its easy to use, someone might say the cool feature they have or etc. And if you gather 100 people or more you will get the numbers of people who like it because its easy to use or the other.

So what if someone ask them“why they like this apps?” It will bring more answer to their assumption and opinion about their behavioral state when they use the apps. It needed more why question to make it clear, right?

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article or if you have some discussion with me let me know in the comments. You could correct me in the comments if I made some mistakes in my writing.

UIUX Designer | Product Designer