Research Analysis Workshop

A research analysis workshop gathers all the research material from the Discovery phase to begin analyzing the findings. Analysis workshops bring the whole team together to create a shared understanding and ownership of the research and insights. The first workshops cover broad issues and work down into details to capture overall trends, themes, issues, concerns, insights, ideas and opportunities to move the team into the next phase.


Workshop Structure

1. Gather source material

Post research notes, debriefing summaries, photos, and transcripts for the team to review. Also include preliminary maps, personas, and models from earlier workshops.

2. Surface observations and insights

An observation is something a team member observed directly; while an insight is an idea, principle or application of that observation in finding opportunities and solutions.

Use sticky notes to write observations and insights based on each team member’s review of the research notes, debriefings, and other source material, including the team’s own recollection.

Work to create as many observations and insights as possible in the time available. As observations and insights are surfaced in discussion, attempt to look at different dimensions of the service to help produce better insights and opportunities instead of only using one perspective.

Continue capturing opportunities as they are suggested during analysis, dedicating a specific sticky colour or location for these new opportunities to later include in the opportunity log.

3. Affinity grouping

Use the first batch of sticky notes to create groupings (or clusters) of related observations and insights, clustering the ideas based on their similarity to each other. Work in parallel, with all participants reading stickies and moving them into clusters. Label these clusters as they form, and announce the cluster to the workshop attendees so that they can add their own stickies to that grouping.

As clusters are created, additional observations and insights will often be generated. Add these to the clusters.

Once the workshop attendees reach a point where most of the notes are grouped, capture these clusters by taking photos of them. This will allow the team to refer to the clusters later when doing further analysis, and to share the clusters with other people after the workshop.

4. Identify themes

Walk participants through the clusters and discuss them. Participants need to think individually about what stands out for them: what are the themes, insights, principles and opportunities that stand out to the group? Capture the discussion in real time. Take turns being the scribe or have a dedicated scribe if one is available.

5. Incubate

The team will spend a lot of time together as well as with the research materials so incubation time will be needed. Take a little time away from the research analysis to let the team members think about different ways to draw connections and generate insights.

6. Re-sort and recapture

After incubation consider re-clustering sticky notes with a fresh perspective. While discussing the themes, the team is likely to see new patterns emerge. As the team builds on the previous work, and as understandings and insights grow and expand, re-sort into new clusters.

7. Task analysis (optional)

If the team is working on a specific service flow in detail, they may find it useful to catalogue at a more granular level the specific tasks and activities that individuals go through, focused on tasks in particular. For example, taking a number at a front counter, waiting, filling out a form, visiting with an information officer, providing background documents, proving identity, etc.

This level of detail may be more than what is needed at this time, but can be invaluable for making design decisions and prioritizing features later in the process.

8. Revise personas, scenarios or empathy maps

The analysis that the team performs will provide new perspectives and understandings. Based on the field research experience, and a more citizen centered perspective, revise and update preliminary personas, scenarios or empathy maps to more accurately reflect client or citizen needs, goals and activities.