A great day researching research

Today, as part of our Participant Discovery, we conducted five 30 minute telephone research interviews.

Based on our agreed criteria, People for Research screened and recruited our participants, and we ran the sessions from People Thinking’s Bristol-based office.


We drank quite a bit of coffee. Sometimes in the sunshine.

Ben was the lead interviewer, with me (Nic) taking notes on post-its and plotting them along a rough ‘participant journey’ timeline on the whiteboard.

We weren’t sure what we were going to discover, and as Ben says, it’s good to assume “we’re going to get this bit wrong.”

The calls went really well.

We had a good range of participants, who’d participated in various types of research. We’re particularly interested in in-depth, one-to-one research, and what’s like to participate – from being recruited through to receiving the post-research incentive and beyond.

Our next step will be to conduct some thematic analysis on our findings.

For some reflection on what user research is, have a read of Ben’s #weeknotes (published yesterday).

What’s it like to be a user research participant?

And how can understanding this help us improve our research and the insight we gain from it?

This is what we’re working on over the next couple of months.

Today is our kick-off day. We’re in Cardiff where there’s coffee and wifi. This morning we were in The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, this afternoon we’re in The Little Man Café.

What are we doing?

  • We’re running a discovery to understand and map out what a user research participant’s journey looks like

Why are we doing this?

  • We wonder if by having a better understanding of what it’s like to be a participant, we can improve the insight we gain from our research

Who are we?

We are Ben Cubbon and Nic Price.

This is a People Thinking side project. We’re doing this in a non-commercial capacity. We’ll blog about what we’re doing, and we’ll share our findings and any outputs and outcomes along the way.

Who are we working with?

  • User research participants
  • User researchers – including the UK’s cross-government user research community
  • People for Research, a Bristol-based participant recruitment company
  • You?

Anything else?

As part of this work, we’ll be running a workshop at UX Bristol* on Friday 14th July to share what we’ve discovered so far, and to flesh out what we want to do next.

You can read and comment on our UX Bristol workshop proposal. Here’s an excerpt:

What’s the user journey for a user research participant? In this workshop we’ll share what we discovered when we researched this question. Attendees will collaborate in sketching up ideas to answer the question: how might we better meet the needs of research participants?

*UX Bristol tickets will go on sale at 10am on Tuesday 16th May – they sell out really quickly every year