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Stop! Do these 4 things before you write your research plan conduct research to drive business decisions.jpg?format=1500w

Four things to do BEFORE writing your plan

I’ve always believed great research starts with a great Research Plan, but as we officially start our Fall Ask Like A Pro cohort next week, I’ve been thinking about the things I do BEFORE I scratch out the first paragraph of the draft plan — 4 early steps that set me and my team up for success.

1. Get into the research mindset

As user researchers, our role is to explore well-defined research questions. The data we gather in an evidence-based and structured manner helps our teams make informed, critical business decisions. First and foremost, that means being truly curious and open to learning something new! Let go of assumptions you may have about the company, its industry, its customers or its products. Research shouldn’t be used to prove anyone’s hunch or theory. And it should NEVER be used as a weapon. Stay open to genuine, continuous learning.

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2. Recognize your biases and make a plan to balance them

Everyone brings professional and life experiences to a project. And for the most part, that’s great — professional experience makes you a more effective researcher; life experience means you bring a unique perspective, and that can lead to unique and diverse connections others don’t see. But it is important to be aware of any biases your experiences create so you can consciously counter them. (This tool will help you identify bias red flags!)

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3. Do your research before you start your research!

Now that you’ve cleared your mental slate, take some time to work through any relevant existing primary or secondary learnings. What questions are left unanswered? What you learn will inform your study, allowing you to go deeper into critical issues instead of wasting time affirming already established answers.

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4. Really get to know your stakeholders and the organization’s culture

Your stakeholders make critical contributions to your study; you truly can’t be effective without their full support. So it’s important to make it easy for them to contribute by adapting as much as possible to their ways of doing things. In addition to asking all of the research-related questions in your initial stakeholder meetings, observe what you can about their culture: Is the atmosphere formal or informal? How do they interact with one another? What technology are they using to collaborate — or do they prefer to work face-to-face? Are their key documents formal reports? Presentation slides? Detailed email messages? Find out, and adapt! Think of the UX of working with you as a researcher. Go out of your way to create a positive experience for them.

While you want to make your stakeholders comfortable, you also must establish your own new role in their ecosystem as the researcher. Now that you know the people and their roles, earn their trust and buy-in by ensuring the UX research study goals support the business core objectives. Make the UXR goals everyone’s goals. This alignment is critical for engagement.

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This week in the Ask Like A Pro series

The Fall 2021 workshop participants are starting this getting-to-know-you phase of consultancy with their stakeholders at Usability Hub and Team AI this week! Both sponsors have come to us with business-critical generative and evaluative research challenges. Students are learning about the organizations and their needs, combing through existing data, and becoming familiar with the topics, targets and background so they can work with their clients to formulate the specific research questions that will drive their research plans. I can’t wait to hear what they learn!

It’s not too late to join us in this cohort

Our All-in seats are sold out for Fall ’21, but you can still join this cohort as an Observer, and have a fresh credential to show off before Thanksgiving! Click here to learn more about Ask Like A Pro.

Speak up, get involved, share the love

And that’s a wrap!

We try to alternate between a theme and UX/UXR jobs, events, classes, articles, and other happenings every few weeks. What do you think? We’re constantly iterating and would still love to hear your input.

Stay curious,
– Michele and the Curiosity Tank team

PS : Interested in learning if Ask Like A Pro is right for you (or someone you know)? Watch this recording of our latest Alumni Q&A here to find out!

This post was originally published on this site

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