Having a point of view when doing design research

Doing research isn’t just about asking questions.

Instead of conducting research with the mindset of a one-way collection of data, Jieyu shares how going into research with a point of view on the subject matter enriches the process and the data you collect. Jieyu also talks about how a qualitative research methodology, like design research, can provide a different kind of representation that quantitative research gives.


  • It is important to go into design research with a point of view on the subject matter—it lets you have a more engaging conversation with your respondent, and use the opportunity to bounce ideas during the session
  • Crafting and surfacing a narrative in design research makes it stick when sharing insights; marry both the emotional and rational sides of the story
  • The basis of the representativeness of qualitative research is that people are fundamentally the same—we are all driven by the same few things, but differ depending on our experiences and life phase
  • In qualitative research, it isn’t about speaking to a large number of people, but a representative number of people, in order to minimise bias and find commonalities and nuances in their experiences

Full Transcript

I don’t think interviewing or doing research is just about asking questions.

I do actually try to ask myself if I have a point of view about this subject matter. And if I don’t, it’s most likely because I am either emotionally disconnected from the subject matter, or that I don’t know enough to have a point of view.

I think it’s important to have a point of view going in, so that you could also test it and also so that you can have a more engaging conversation with your respondent. I don’t think interviewing or doing research is just about asking questions. But it’s really using the opportunity to bounce ideas, and also have a conversation, so that the things you surface are also more natural, and also deeper in that subject matter.


On crafting your design research story.

Would you say that these stories are unique to qualitative research? Or, you know, do you think these stories can also come about from quantitative, like more number crunching kind of research methods?

You know, like they say, economics is the data, the science of the masses, right? So it’s about numbers, right? I look at numbers, and I’m able to draw storylines of society or storylines of economies, of countries. It’s a different kind of story. So it really depends on what story you want to surface. And at the same time, what is the narrative that you want to put forth? But I think a good story combines both. We were talking about TED Talks, right?

How they always have a very human side, a very compelling hero’s journey thing, but then you always back it up with a little bit of data, a little bit of numbers, a little bit of science, so then you kind of marry the emotional side as well as the rational, logical side. And then that story kind of sticks.

Yeah, so it takes a little bit of both, I think it’s not so much one sided.


On the representativeness and accuracy of qualitative research.

Design research is quite a qualitative approach. How do you know that an insight is representative of the group of people, respondents that you’ve spoken to? And yeah then, you know, that translation into the insight? How do you know or how can you tell that that insight is valuable or, you know, so-called accurate to the people that you’ve spoken to?


I think the belief is that fundamentally, people are the same.

Or we are all very, by, you know… if you break us down, we’re really just very human, right. So regardless of where you’re at, we have to, or rather, the researcher will have to go in with the mindset that we are fundamentally connected in the same way. So we are driven by certain things. But we will have differences, depending on our experiences, the situation we’re in, the life phase, and all these things. So it’s being able to also recognise the similarities that we have as people, but also the differences that we have in each other.


On minimising bias in design research.

It’s a little bit of being able to quickly understand if this person is speaking from maybe a certain angle, or certain biases, or certain experiences and therefore when you have certain insight points from the person, you might want to recalibrate it slightly. And the other one is being able to talk to enough people. So it’s not, it’s not quantitative right, so it’s not really about “I’ve spoken to 2000 people.”

But you want to speak to a good representative number, so that it can help minimise the bias factor, as well as being able to then see commonalities across their experiences as well as differences, the nuances that might make a difference.

Desiree Lim, Kevin Yeo, Matthew Wong


This post doesn't have any comment. Be the first one!

hide comments

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!