Need to provide critical feedback on a UX research plan or UX findings report for a colleague? Or maybe you’d like to self-assess your own work and improve your process?
See also: How I Plan User Research
Below are some research plan and research report writing tips to get you started.
UX Research Plan Writing Checklist
The background clearly articulates the problem statement and why this research study is important to the organization.
The background clearly outlines past research findings that are relevant to the research objective—including knowns and unknowns. The background demonstrates the importance of the research.
There is a detailed list of questions this research study will answer. The list of questions includes hypotheses to confirm or disconfirm.
If a usability study, it also includes a list of specific scenarios or tasks that participants will attempt to complete.
There is a detailed description of how the research will be conducted, including how data will be collected. The research method is appropriate for the research objective.
There is an explanation of why these research methods were selected, including their validity and reliability.
This section also includes a description of non-user research methods (e.g., stakeholder interviews, competitive analyses, documentation review). For example, a literature review to determine what, if any, risk of harm the research topic or research design might post to research participants and what additional protections may be needed.
There is a detailed description of who will be recruited as well as how participants will be selected (i.e., eligibility requirements) and recruited.
The sampling strategy and sample size are clearly explained.
The plan outlines how the research design will protect participants from mental and physical harm—including, but not limited to informed consent, privacy, exposure to unfair burdens, exposure to unfairly shared benefits, right to decline or withdraw without consequences, confidentiality (or no guarantee of confidentiality when conducting focus group or other group research), and how data will be protected or destroyed following analysis. There is a discussion about the probability of harm and severity of harm to participants, should it occur.
There are no ethical violations or conflicts of interest (or clearly discloses conflicts).
The research plan is accessible and inclusive of all abilities and identities. The plan considers who is recruited, how participants are recruited, the research methodologies, the accessibility of the lab, stimuli, who moderates, and research day logistics.
Other Key Information
The research plan includes other pertinent information, such as:
- Name of research sponsor
- Project team & roles / responsibilities
- Description of deliverable(s)
- Researcher contact information
UX Research Report Writing Checklist
The executive summary is brief, yet includes a comprehensive summary of the findings. The executive report allows readers to understand the findings and implications quickly. All conclusions and recommendations are supported and justified by the data—not opinion.
The research objective is answered or clearly explains why it was not answered.
The presentation of the data is easy to understand and includes enough detail to allow readers to evaluate the results themselves. The researcher considered other interpretations of the results.
The researcher includes limitations of the study.
The presentation includes key research plan details—generally included in the introduction or appendix (e.g., recruiting method, sampling strategy, sample size, discussion guide, survey questions) so that readers can accurately and independently validate the credibility of the research design.
Recommended Next Steps
The report outlines recommended next steps supported by the research findings (e.g., make purchase decision, conduct additional research, develop concepts).
There is no to little jargon and all terms are clearly defined.
Includes name and contact information for researcher and business sponsor.
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