Being a professional with the words “user experience (UX)” in the title requires that I know something about it. One cannot design a user-centered experience without first defining what that user requires. Gathering user requirements is done through relevant research. UX research spans multiple disciplines, methodologies, and paradigms in order to understand the large variation of knowledge gaps about the user. Therefore, as a user experience professional it’s vital that I’m able to determine relevant methodology when conducting my own research, as well as, evaluate published research for its relevance and rigor.
My graduate class: Empirical Traditions in Human-Centered Design and Engineering, was instrumental in doing just that. After the 10 weeks of focused reading, discussion, and writing on meta UX research, I am confident in my skills to be an effective research practitioner. From this class I am able to (1) evaluate both qualitative and quantitative research for quality, rigor, and relevance. (2) Identify epistemological paradigms and tailor content appropriately. (3) Further the conversation about UX research research by challenging assumptions and biases.
Evaluating Qualitative and Quantitative Research
Throughout the class we practiced reviewing both qualitative and quantitative research with an evaluation in the categories of understanding, believability, applicability, significance, and ethics (UBASE). Using criteria helped focus and standardize research critiques, culminating into a formal review of a paper which I evaluated with UBASE, and subsequently used in my profession.
Identifying Epistemological Paradigms
The two paradigms I’m referring to is interpretivism and positivism. These images I created categorize the methods in which these paradigms express method to understand and measure the world. Take a moment to examine and think about what I’m intending to express with this collage of pictures.
Challenging Assumptions and Biases
One of the best ways to develop your voice and opinion is through writing. As a class requirement, we were asked to complete to discussion papers about selected articles in the class. The discussions I wrote were designed to be engaging, insightful, and provocative – challenging held assumptions within the domain of user experience research.