7 essential elements to planning a UX Research Study

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What is a UX Research Plan?

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Why do we need to plan a UX Research Study?

There are numerous benefits of planning a UX research, including:

  • Achieve your UX goals — A research plan helps you and your team to stay focused and on track.
  • Engage stakeholders — A written plan is a great way to share research goals, methodology, etc to share with stakeholders and involve them in the research project.

7 essential elements for planning a UX Research Study

  1. Project Background
  2. Research Goals
  3. Research Questions
  4. KPIs
  5. Methodology
  6. Participants
  7. Script

Project Background

The project background summarizes the situation leading to the needs of the research study. It’s a brief explanation of “What led you to conduct the research?”

Research Goals

Research goals is a brief explanation of “Why you are conducting the research?”. It describes specific ideas that you want to learn from the research or what outcomes you want from the research. Essentially, they drive the entire research study.

  • How will the results of the research impact our design decisions?

Research Questions

Research questions are a brief explanation of “What questions are you trying to answer with the research study?”. It is the collection of questions you plan to answer during the study. These are not the questions you ask research participants. Instead, the research questions are the questions you want your research to answer and they should perfectly align with the research goals.

  • Specific — Make sure your research questions are specific and not too broad. This can prevent you from getting meaningful data.
  • Non-leading — Questions should be neutrally phased so that they don’t sound like you are assuming a particular answer to your question.


KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, give you a quantitative way to measure progress over time, see if the goals are being met, and analyze whether changes need to be made.


Now, we will progress from the background plans and move more towards our specific goal of the research study. The methodology describes the steps you use to conduct the research. It will list the procedure you will use while collecting the information.

  1. The steps involved in the research method
  2. The type of data that will be generated from the research method


This is an important plan for your research plan, consider this as the base of the study. The participants you select for the study will represent the voice of real users. Hence, you need to select study participants carefully. Having not an end-user participant can destroy the whole research study.

  • Screener survey — You should create a survey form with a series of questions that you will ask potential participants to see if they meet your desired characteristics. If you want to learn more about screener survey, check out the article from userinterviews.com.
  • Incentives — You should give your participants some incentives for participating in the study.
  • Diverse perspectives and abilities — Having a diverse set of participants can let you know about the needs of different groups of people which you didn’t think of in the first place. You should also include participants with physical impairments.


The script in the UX research plan is like an interview guide for your research session. It contains questions to ask participants and prompts or triggers them to complete. This guide is helpful to be used during user interviews, field studies, or face-to-face sessions.

  1. Questions — Includes questions you’ll ask your participants during the interview.
  2. Wrap-up — Finally the message to say at the end of the session, like, asking the participants if they are open to future research and thanking them for their time.


Having a research plan in hand is very helpful during your research study. It helps your study to go more smoothly and gets the whole team on the same page. It helps you to communicate more effectively with stakeholders. Lastly, It is an essential part of the UX research study.



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Mohsin Khan

Mohsin Khan

Everything about business, sales, and marketing | I learn and share content that helps run your business effectively | Open to chat: mohsin@closebig.net