How Do I Create Research Objectives?

What’s an objective?

Goals. Research questions. Study objectives. There are lots of terms, but here we’ll use the term “objective” to describe any idea or question that we want to understand at a deeper level by performing research.

Objectives should be the driving force behind every task you assign and every question that you ask. These objectives should be focused on particular features or processes on your product.

What distinguishes a “good” objective from a “bad” one?

Good study objectives are specific. They name a particular feature or process, and often mention different elements or aspects within those features or processes.

If you’re researching with a specific objective in mind, you’ll have a much better sense of what kinds of tasks and questions to include in your test, and what kind of information to send back to your team.

How to craft a detailed objective

Talk to your team

You can get detailed objectives by collaborating with the product’s stakeholders. Start the conversation at a high level by determining what features or processes they want to have test participants review.

Once you’ve figured out the broad topics that the test will cover, it’s important to drill down. Review any available analytics data to pinpoint areas of concern.

You can also suggest a demonstration or walk-through of the feature or process in question; more detailed concerns may come to light as everyone goes through the experience together.

Prioritize your objectives

You may also encounter the opposite problem; stakeholders are giving you an abundance of objectives, and you need to figure out what to tackle first!

If this is the case, ask your stakeholders to prioritize their needs.

What to do once you’ve got objectives

The UserTesting Research Team has a lot of methods for turning research questions into a test plan that yields solid answers, but they boil down to this: turn each objective into 2-4 tasks and/or questions. Here’s a handy diagram for that:

By using this approach, it ensures that your test plan stays focused as you begin the more detailed task of writing clear instructions and questions for your users.

Please note that the diagram isn’t an indication of the order in which tasks and questions should be posed to users. Also, it’s possible for a task and/or question to tie back to multiple objectives. However, if a lot of your tasks are multi-purpose, perform a dry run of the test to make sure that users are giving you feedback that touches on both of your objectives.

If you have any questions about your research objectives, contact your Customer Success Manager. They’ll be happy to help you turn them into actionable findings!

For more information, visit the original blog post Setting Clear Objectives for Your UX Research”.

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