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Use this page to understand the steps involved in note-taking and finding out what your research means.
There are two sides to getting note-taking right.
This will give you one continuous narrative. You will need to go through and break it up into smaller pieces. This will often still be quicker than manually transcribing notes from recordings.
You want your notes to be:
You don't need a record of everything that's said during the interview.
Instead focus on the following.
Aim for a set of fairly detached notes. Note-taking is not the best place to start drawing conclusions. You'll do that after you’ve done all your interviews and have a bigger picture.
You can start making sense of your research with only a small number of interviews. Three interviews will show patterns emerging. Five interviews may be enough to move onto another stage of the project.
Do your analysis as soon as you can after your research. You want the sessions to be fresh in your mind.
Don’t try and process research on your own. It’s much easier to reduce bias and make sure you have a genuine analysis when you work with a team.
You could involve:
Go back over your interview notes. Pull out any relevant items that help you understand the problem you're trying to solve better. Include things that help you answer any of your user research goals.
You want these items in an individual, movable format.
If you’re working with people who are only comfortable using word processing tools:
You may add some additional thoughts of your own as you go. If you do, make sure that it's clear that they're from the researcher's perspective.
Look at your collection of notes and start to move them into groupings. Don’t start with titles for those groupings. It is best to cluster things that feel like they belong together first, then name afterwards. Sometimes you will decide to put a note in more than one group.
Now you have grouped your themes together, ask the following questions.
You’ll often find people in the digital world calling your conclusion, a 'user need' or a 'user story'. You can write your conclusions in this structure if you want.
Throughout the analysis process, it is easy to let your own bias influence your conclusions. Read our article on unconscious bias and how to mitigate it.
You'll want to keep a record of the conclusions and insights you found. This doesn’t have to be a fancy report. We recommend using slides with each slide documenting a conclusion you’ve found.
The user research process can leave the participants isolated from your work after the interview. Follow best practice from user engagement and make sure you share what you're doing next with your participants.
Use the government’s user research teams top tips on presentations.
Last reviewed: 02 March 2021Help us improve this content
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