Design research tools

Blog Feb 10, 2021

In my last blog I have talked about the methods for design research, but we also need tools to apply those methods. And this blog is filled with many magnificent and important tools that you may need.

So what are research tools?. Research tools are techniques of engaging with different methods like primary and secondary research. So let’s get started!

1.Literature review

This is the principle tool for the secondary research method in which we use the existing knowledge to find the solution. It is the reviewing and summarising of the documents, publications, books and other resources related to the topic.

Unlike old times now we also have the internet as the secondary research tool. Which saves a lot of time as someone may have done the research on the same topic as yours, so it avoids you going down the same path, but sometimes it’s not reliable.

2. Competitive analysis

The process of reviewing competitors’ strengths and weaknesses to determine how you can position yourself is what we call as competitive analysis. We usually learn from this is what not to do?What are the existing standards?. After learning about the competition a technique called media scanning is opted, it is the process of scanning of material which is written and produced by the competitors. Example- websites or social media handles.

3. Observational note taking

This is the process of watching and recording the human behavior in a natural environment. Usually done by descriptive writing, but can also be done by sketches and drawing. It helps to break the complicated stuff into simpler steps with an easy understanding level.

4. Photo ethnography

Asking your client to capture their point of view is a real good take to work with this tool. This gives a major look into empathy, even the unnoticed things can be noticed in this way.

5. Questionnaire or Survey

A survey is a research tool that collects demographic and psychographic information. In this case a sample audience is taken. A survey is administered questions asked verbally to an intended audience.

Where as a questionnaire is done by the participant itself by responding to some online or on paper questions.

Even here also there are two types of questions open ended and closed ended. In open ended the participant is allowed to answer on their own which is great for the collection of qualitative data, whereas closed ended questions force the participant to choose their answers from a list of options and is great for quantitative data.

6. Interviews

Asking a series of questions directly from the participant is called an interview. It is the part of primary research and collects information that is mostly qualitative. Helpful to define the problem and evaluate possible solutions.

7. Focus group feedback

It is similar to an interview, but a set of questions are asked at once to a group of people. It is effective in defining problems centred around sensitive subjects or evaluating a design, prototype or iteration.

Tejaswini Singh

Tejaswini is a design student and passionate Product Designer who loves designing delightful experiences.