Here are some ways you can maximize your research without paying extra.

1. Pay attention to the planning and set-up

(This is the most important part)

We’ve all been involved with projects that begin with one or two clearly defined objectives; but somehow, in the end, the goals are not met. A way to avoid unaccomplished objectives is to list and to prioritize. Now, I’m not saying that the project objectives can’t shift and evolve. However, your objectives shouldn’t be so flexible that you start with wanting X, but you end up with Z. Simply said, you should have detailed objectives that are rigid enough, where you don’t end up with results that accomplish completely opposite of what you originally set.

Also, you should go in with an open mind, but have some hypothesis set up that you are trying to prove or disprove as well. This makes it easier for the vendor to determine what tasks should be included to best meet your objectives. If you have an identified hypothesis you want tested and you have defined, reasonably flexible objectives, the more likely your research goals will be achieved.

2. Know the end result

        (. . . and choose wisely)

UX research provides different results than market research. For example, market research produces results on what consumers prefer to buy and to use. Whereas, UX research yields results on what the consumers’ feelings and experiences were like with the product or service.

“User experience research looks at what a person feels about using a product or service . . . it’s about very specific, deep-dive information about the users” (Lahiri Chavan, 2012).

One misconception is that you shouldn’t use both UX research and classic market research. Many clients think they can only use one or the other. Yet, using both UX research and traditional market research can produce some of the best, most accurate research results. Typically, in UX research, there are small sample sizes, but this is a great opportunity for brainstorming and ideation. While in traditional market research, the “research relies on large, statistically significant sample sets” (Marine, 2015). Therefore, by using both UX research and traditional market research, clients receive results that give evidence on what the consumer’s feelings, experiences, and preferences are towards the product or service both in large and small samples. Bottom line, don’t be afraid to mix up UX research and traditional market research.

3. Keep it short

  • Make sure your research study remains focused on your top, most prioritized objectives.
  • Prevent Respondent Fatigue.
    • Respondent Fatigue is when research participants become “fatigued” from the length of the study, resulting in poor responses and defective data.
  • Plan on covering 1-2 objectives per study.
    • You can cover 3-4 objectives IF they are less complex and straightforward.
  • Focus on the objectives during planning meetings.
    • Redefine your objectives when necessary or do an additional study.
    • Be realistic on how many topic changes your participants can follow while still providing quality information.

4. Be an active participant

  • Have a good understanding of each part of the research process.
    • Project time frames (during development especially) rely heavily on the client project manager.
  • Minimize delays during development.
    • Delays during development normally fall into two categories:
      • 1.) Late media, slow approval, and other client delays are the #1 reason project deadlines are missed.
      • 2.) Recruitment is the second reason project deadlines are missed. Since much of recruitment is somewhat luck of the draw and often limited by budget constraints, recruiting research participants can slow down development of the study.
  • Be realistic with your time frames.
    • If you ever have the chance to complete a project from start to finish, jump at it.
      • You will learn infinite amounts of information about what parts of the project can overlap (e.g. final stages of development and beginning stages of recruitment), and what can’t (e.g. data entry, cleaning has to be done before any analysis and reporting).
    • If any stage of the project is pushed back even by a day or two, it is really hard to make up for that time
      • You don’t want to end up with a choppy, or worse yet, sloppy report due to a hard deadline when almost 90% of the time it can be avoided.

5. Establish relationships with good researchers

  • Remember, these partners need GOOD information from you. They are a part of your team, but they are outside of your organization, so communication is paramount.
  • Build a relationship over time to maximize your research budget.
    • Many of Discida’s clients have approached us again to do a very similar study to one we previously completed.
    • Having a good understanding of your company’s culture, products, and long-term research objectives will help create a synergy between you and the vendor that will exponentially increase the quality of your research.
  • Understand it gets easier to work with others the longer you do it.
    • You get to know how the vendor works, how hard they work, and you develop a trust that often cuts down on project management time in the long-run.

Citations:

Lahiri Chavan, Apala. (2012). UX Research and Market Research. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from http://info.humanfactors.com/acton/attachment/4167/4167:f-0045/1/

Marine, L. (2015, October 22). Market Research Is NOT User Research. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from https://www.linkdex.com/en-us/inked/market-research-vs-user-research/