Turning anecdotes into insights: mixed methods research in support of design

Design is no longer a solitary activity happening behind a monitor: more and more designers are out in the field, observing, exploring and learning from their users. But how can they transform their findings from a handful of anecdotes into valid research insights? 

A few anecdotes can be more detrimental than no research—they can cause designers to forgo their instincts in favour of incomplete data. But turning anecdotes into insights isn’t just a matter of collecting the qualitative and quantitative data to support them: it’s about blending the two correctly, understanding how they complement each other, and knowing which to use at each stage of the design process.

This is where mixed methods research comes in handy. With over 25 years of proven experience in the social sciences, mixed methods integrates quantitative and qualitative research in a way that capitalizes on the strengths of both. But since it’s often presented as a dense academic topic, mixed methods can be daunting for those with a limited or primarily qualitative research background. This talk will introduce mixed methods in a design context, and illustrate through concrete examples how it can give designers the confidence that their work is shaped by valid insights rather than anecdotes.


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Date: March 1, 2018 Time: 10:15 am - 11:00 am photo of Dalia El-Shimy

Dalia El-Shimy