Chapter 13. Making Sense of the Mess

It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.

Eleanor Roosevelt

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve successfully asked questions pertinent to your work, screened and recruited participants, and conducted qualitative or quantitative research. There is no rest for the weary researcher, though, and the most integral part of any protocol is just ahead: research analysis, or making sense of the mess, as Abby Covert, author of How to Make Sense of Any Mess, calls it. This chapter will demystify many of the challenges and hurdles pertaining to analysis.

Why Bother with Analysis?

Project teams often want to go from research directly to design and production. The assumption is that because researchers heard the data, they can communicate the key needs verbally or in an email, and the team can save time and money by moving ahead with the project. This overlooks the opportunities analysis offers and creates more challenges than it solves.

By having a formal analysis process, your project team and stakeholders are able to create a shared understanding of what was heard and how your project goals might shift. This also empowers the team to communicate through a common language. Before getting much further in how to analyze research in UX and product design, however, we will highlight how research analysis is performed in fields outside of our own.

Manufacturing and Engineering

This book started with a history of research in Chapter 1 and noted some manufacturing ...

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