Nutrition profile

Start your UX research project with a plan. Driven by your research questions and goals, you'll identify your audience, methods, and resourcing needed.

Cooking time

Varies depending on the scope and scale of your research. Lightweight research planning can happen in an hour. In-depth research planning can take months.

Perfect for

Kicking off your research project with a practical, actionable plan.

You'll benefit from research planning if you have a gap in your understanding or a problem that needs a solution. Perhaps you need to learn more about your audience for a potential product or learn how well a service is meeting user needs. Research plans keep you on track for small and large projects.

Prep work

Do your homework

See what other research is already out there so you're not starting from scratch. If you're at the University of Arizona Libraries, consider checking the library's research repository to see if anyone completed a similar project. You might also conduct a literature review to see what information or findings already exist and if you might want to replicate a past study.

Example of past website research from the library's research repository

Example of past website research from the library's research repository

Also browse through some of our other recipes, like user interviews and usability testing, to get inspiration and start thinking about what method(s) might work well for you.

Determine the intention of the research

Some research requires approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to make sure it's ethical and doesn't harm people. Often, UX research is exempt from IRB if its intention is just to improve a product or service.

But it's important to decide up front if you will be conducting research intending to generalize findings to a broader population (requires IRB approval), or program-level evaluation intended only for improving quality of a service or product (usually exempt). Going through IRB can add a bit to your timeline. If you're not sure, you might need to fill out a determination form.

If you're at the University of Arizona, see Human Subject Protection Program.

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