Research Method Speed Dating: Reflection

Research Methods | Spring 2020

To prepare for the Speed Dating activity, I researched the Card Sorting research method. Over the course of several rounds, I was able to learn more about Kano Analysis, A/B Testing, and Stakeholder Maps.

In each round, we answered three questions after sharing both methods:

1. In what ways can these methods work together? If not explain why.

2. Are there any prerequisites for their application together? (What would you need to know?)

3. Would you use these methods together, or either one, in your group project? Explain (gut check)

A) Kano Analysis (Nicole Yu)

  1. Kano Analysis can be paired with Card Sorting quite well. As the latter involves understanding user mental models through a visual analysis of participant-driven concept organization, Kano Analysis can then help researchers understand why certain categories may fall under certain levels of hierarchy. By deducting where concepts fall on spectrums measuring customer satisfaction and understanding the process in which users digest information, designers and researchers can build more user-conscious designs.
  2. It may be necessary to identify specific stakeholders that will be participating in both Kano Analysis and Card Sorting experiments. Although it is important to diversify and cover an inclusive research demographic, understanding main stakeholders and their mental models will be the most important in ensuring a productive combination of these two methods.
  3. I can see my group using these two methods in a project as both seem fairly realistic to perform in both a classroom and pandemic context, as they seem to be transferrable onto a digital platform while maximizing the use of participatory research methods.

B) A/B Testing (Neely Lee)

  1. A/B Testing and Card Sorting can be paired together well, in an almost intuitive manner. As Card Sorting involves the identification of patterns in user-generated organizational structures, researchers can extrapolate these findings into direct implementation for A/B Testing. After identifying major trends and differences present in mental models (Card Sorting), these can then be translated into variants A and B, the changing variable found from analyzing the what caused participants to produce different results in Card Sorting.
  2. It is important to know why the variants used in A/B Testing were created; what differences do the changes in a variable present and why is that variable relevant? Although Card Sorting may give researchers options to choose from, it is necessary to synthesize and understand why participants created their mental models — this can be achieved through asking questions and going through with a proper debriefing process.
  3. I would use these methods together in a group project as they seem to be highly related and easy to implement, especially if the design solution is a tangible product. The pairing of generative and evaluative research methods may be useful when trying to produce balanced and accurate research data.

C) Stakeholder Maps (Rachel Legg)

  1. Stakeholder Maps can be helpful to use with Card Sorting if the former is used to inform what concepts are being implemented for Card Sorting. By analyzing different stakeholder groups and identifying key players in the system, researchers can then tailor concept sets to be inclusive yet most relevant to the intended users of the design solution.
  2. Before pairing Stakeholder Maps and Card Sorting, it may be important to consider the breadth of the design solution. Is this a solution intended for all, or is this a demographic-specific design centralized around a unique set of problems. Identifying an appropriate scope before using these methods together will be helpful; this will help keep research focused while respecting the nature of a limited participant pool for Card Sorting.
  3. I think using these methods together can be helpful in informing a more streamlined research process. In any case, the purpose and intent of a design solution is informed by identifying a stakeholder group (and vice versa).

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