6 critical questions to ask when scoping a UX research study

There is a low barrier to mediocre UX Research.

20 Jan 2024

Scoping is make or break.

When a UXR project goes wrong, it’s often due to issues in scoping.

When I’m talking to stakeholders, these are questions I always make sure I ask:

🎯 What decisions will you make based on these insights?

This focuses the discussion on how stakeholders will use the information you generate and help nail down the specifics you need to uncover. Rather than ‘what do you want to find out’, I’m interested in what will change.

📈 What metrics are you looking to move based on these insights?

This give you a great view about how the study relates to overall business goals and helps you triangulate the answer to question 1.

⌛ When will you be making decisions that these insights will inform?

I find this is a better question than ‘when do you need the insights’ as stakeholders will often respond asap if you leave it open ended. Find out if there is a deadline e.g. strategy session, sprint planning or prioritisation meeting that the insights are needed for then work backwards with timing.

🏆 What do you already know about this space? What’s your level of confidence?

One of the worst things that can happen at the end of a research exercise is a stakeholder saying ‘I knew all this already.’ Scope out what’s known and where the gaps are.

🤹‍♀️ How much time do you have to be part of the research process?

My expectation is that if a stakeholders have asked for research they will be involved in the process (e.g. by attending sessions). If stakeholders maintain they have 0 time to be involved it can be a sign that they don’t value the research enough.

🥂 6 months from now, if we looked back on this project as a great success, what kind of things would we be saying?

This is a kinda fun bonus one. This can help take a longer term view of what success looks like.

There are many other things you’d need to align with stakeholders or clients before getting started on a project (e.g. methodology, target market). But these 6 questions are an important part of scoping well.

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