October 18, 2022

How to define right goals for your user research?

Vasundhara Dhar

To specify the scope and depth of any research project, it is crucial to establish research goals. It aids in removing any unnecessary information, and the evaluation of findings is easy.

The following are the two most common reasons for conducting user research:

1. You want to generate new ideas about user behaviour, pain points, or potential solutions. This type of research is called “generative research.”

2. You have potential solutions and you want to test the effectiveness of such solutions, compare them against one another, or improve them. Such research falls under “evaluative research.”

The Importance of Generative Research:

  • Helps in reducing the risk of entering the market without any user feedback.
  • Helps in establishing the needs and wants of the target audience by offering insights.
  • Helps in channeling skill and talent towards effective solutions.
  • Helps identify user needs that the user might be unable to express
  1. Field studies: This kind of research study requires the researcher to leave the lab and put themselves in the user’s shoes. In order to determine whether a product fits into consumers’ daily lives or not, it can be helpful to observe users in their most natural setting.
  2. User Interviews: The presence of a moderator and participants is necessary for this type of a research study. Here, the moderator probes the participants on their needs and wants in order to find better solutions.

The importance of Evaluative research:

  • It is beneficial to test your solutions and gather insightful feedback.
  • Early product evaluation by users enables you to determine whether the solution is suitable for your target market.
  • It helps identify the most critical points for improvement.
  • It enables you to provide stakeholders with supporting data for upcoming projects.

Types of evaluative research:

  • Formative evaluation: It is done at an early stage to identify any problems with the design process before it is finished. Through customer feedback, it assists you in identifying problems as you are developing the product.
  • Summative evaluation: It is done at the conclusion phase of your design process to evaluate any unrecognised issues.
    If you want to know whether the product needs any additional testing or not, you can also compare your new solution to earlier versions or those of competitors.
  1. A/B Testing: This research method involves two variants A and B. Both of these alternatives are viable options for the study, and a researcher can determine which prototype is more favourably received by the users.
  2. Closed Card Sorting: In this research procedure, the participants sort the cards into predetermined categories provided by the researcher. When sorting, it’s useful to assess the users’ comprehension of the information architecture and their priorities.
  3. Tree-Testing: In this particular research process, the participant receives the website or app’s text format from the researcher and is given a list of tasks to complete. determines if users will have no trouble finding what they’re looking for.
  4. Usability Testing: This research method involves evaluating a product by testing it on real-time users with predetermined tasks for them to fulfil. It helps define what works and what doesn't.
  5. Surveys: This research technique entails creating a questionnaire that centres on a specific subject and is sent to the intended audience to ascertain their needs.

Difference between Generative vs Evaluative research:

Using both of these can help in a continuous learning process for researchers. It would help them create more informed solutions that are evidence-based and insight-based.


Creating stronger and more detailed research goals brings us full circle to the article’s core premise. These two techniques allow us to produce well-informed answers through ongoing processes of evidentiary learning.

Try it out and let us know if this helps.

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