To establish a thorough awareness of your users across teams and across your company, you’ll need a centralized system. This is where research repositories may help. They bring together numerous forms of user feedback and input. This post is for you, whether you’re a user experience researcher, a user experience designer, or a product manager.
What is a research repository?
At the organizational level, a research repository is a common collection of UX-research-related materials that should enable the following functions: increase UX knowledge and participation in UX work among leadership, product owners, and the business-as-a-whole, and assist UX research work so that UX experts can be more productive when planning and tracking research.
A research repository is a system that stores research data and notes that can be readily retrieved, accessed, and used by the entire team (or research library). Let’s have a look at the most important aspects of this definition.
1. System for storing data.
Any tool you employ to save and arrange your study data qualifies as a system of this type. This can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. An all-in-one program, a file-sharing system, a database, or a wiki are all possibilities.
2. Information gathered through research.
Any information that aids in your understanding of your users qualifies as research data. It doesn’t matter what format is utilized. To collect research data, you can utilize text, photographs, videos, or recordings. You can also use notes, transcripts, or excerpts of consumer feedback.
3. The ease with which it can be used.
If the study data is easy to use, everyone on your team may access, search, explore, and combine it. This can be seen in the work of developers, designers, customer success agents, and product managers, to name a few. They can all receive access to the research repository to learn more about the users. When it comes to understanding users, the researcher is no longer the gatekeeper.
What is the purpose of a research repository?
Researchers can self-archive their research output in institutional repositories, which can improve the visibility, use, and impact of research undertaken at a certain institution. Knowledge management, research assessment, and open access to academic research are some of the other roles of an institutional repository.
When you have a lot of reports, the most difficult part is searching through them. The content of the report is frequently inaccessible via search. This implies you’ll have to go through a lot of documents in order to discover the one you’re looking for. This is true of almost any file management system you use, including Dropbox, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Google Drive, to mention a few of the most popular. Furthermore, if numerous files match the term you’re looking for, you’ll have to look through a couple of them to discover the one you want. As additional researchers join, they will have to go through other people’s reports, which will exacerbate the situation.
b. The raw data is not connected to the reports.
A study’s conclusions or findings are presented in reports. Most of the time, this means they leave out the raw data as well as the proof that backs up their conclusions. Because there is no hard evidence in the report, the lack of hard proof may cause cautious product managers or executives to mistrust the conclusions.
c. Secondary insights are sometimes overlooked.
The primary goal of these reports is to respond to the research question. In actuality, you’re likely to gain more ideas and observations while doing a study. These could be really useful in the future. However, if you don’t have a system in place to track them, you won’t be able to reuse them. Nonetheless, it’s a Catch-22 situation. If you include supplementary insights, you risk diverting attention away from the core study goal.
d. It takes time to compare ideas.
In file-sharing networks, reports and the information they contain become buried and lost. Someone did some study on a feature at some time. Let’s imagine another team member shows up and expresses an interest in learning more about that feature. Without any prior knowledge of past research, researchers begin a new examination into the same issue. When all research data is consolidated, on the other hand, you can see what questions have already been asked. It’s nearly impossible to tell whether separate reports’ observations or insights are related or not.
How do research repositories come to the rescue?
A well-maintained research repository adds value to any business in the long run, from onboarding new colleagues to speeding up research, capacitating user-based decision making, and introducing a user-centric work culture into the entire organization.
1. Increasing the speed of research.
You can begin by reviewing existing data whenever you have a new research topic. You won’t have to sift through several reports to find it because it’s all sorted by tags. If there’s relevant information, you’ll acquire the answers faster this way.
2. Original research can help you get more for your buck.
When research findings are no longer connected to report conclusions, they might be used to answer other questions. If they’re relevant, of course. This is related to the previous statement about accelerating research. It also allows you to get more out of original research.
3. Allow for evidence-based decision-making.
This is most likely one of the most significant victories for a research repository. It enables teams to see the major issues that must be addressed. Also, teams get to see how these difficulties arise on their own. They can also utilize the information to prioritize projects and resources. This is more convenient than relying on gut instincts or personal opinions.
4. Anyone can know the users.
The researcher, by default, is the person who understands everything there is to know about consumers and their problems. Anyone who is interested can access this information through a research repository. Everyone can learn about users with a little time and
Information regarding UI research is stored and organized in research repositories. They collect study results at various levels of granularity, as well as methodology-related papers (from individual findings to reports). Their goal is to make research more broadly available and easy to consume within the company while also streamlining the research team’s work.
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