Evaluating UX Research Plans & Reports

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?

Below are some research plan and research report writing tips to get you started.

UX Research Plan Writing Checklist

Research Objective

The background clearly articulates the problem statement and why this research study is important to the organization.

Research Background

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.

Research Questions

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.

Research Method

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.

Recruiting Method

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.

Ethical Considerations

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).

Other Key Information

The research plan includes other pertinent information, such as:

  • Name of research sponsor
  • Project team & roles / responsibilities
  • Description of deliverable(s)
  • Timeline
  • Researcher contact information

UX Research Report Writing Checklist

Executive Summary

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.

Research Findings

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.

Research Plan

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).

Jargon-Free

There is no to little jargon and all terms are clearly defined.

Contact Information

Includes name and contact information for researcher and business sponsor.

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Author: Kristine Remer

June UX is led by Kristine Remer, a CX / UX research and strategy consultant in Minneapolis. She helps companies drive significant business outcomes by finding and solving customer problems. When she's not creating customer journey maps and conducting diary studies, Kristine is either kayaking or watching her kids play soccer.