Day#233: Psychological Research & Definitions

Day#233: Psychological Research & Definitions

Hey Uxers! I decided that for today I will be reviewing psychological Research resource information from the video by CrashCourse. In UX there is often a lot of focus on understanding a process and conducting usability Research in an organised fashion, we as Uxers have crafted many of our terms and phrases for researching however for this post I thought it would be interesting to refer to psychological research jargon and see how it can or possibly already does relate to UX. In general it will really help to understand the psychological terms associated with Research studies and know where and when they can be utilized or avoided etc, so here goes..


Intuition

This relates to if you have an idea about something/someone, when said idea turns out to be correct this would reinforce one’s intuition. The video below goes into detail on the variables that influence one’s intuition like over confidence etc..

Relation to UX

Intuition can be dangerous if Researchers and Designers influence decisions just based on intuition, it is difficult sometimes to step back from a project but an unbiased approach needs to be taken under consideration to find a valuable decision to be made for the benefit of the project and users.


Operationalizing your questions

“Figure out how to ask general questions about your subject and then turn them into measurable testable propositions”

Relation to UX

This is something that Users need to be able to do in their day to day jobs, in order to be able to compare findings similar questions need to be asked when conducting usability tests. Yes there may be detours with certain participants, however in order to gain valuable data a usability test script should be created with all the general goals and questions for the participant.


Scientific Method

  1. “Questions and a theory
  2. Hypothesis, testable prediction
  3. Test with a replicable experiment”

Relation to UX

I quite like including my hypothesis on projects, it helps me see what the possible outcomes could have been, it also helps me understand the users better and sometimes see how I perhaps missed the mark etc. The third point of testing with a replicable experiment is very crucial, for example you can not do a usability test with a time constraint for one user and then not for another and use the data in the same way. Both pieces of data can be used to understand the user journey in relation to time constraints but both can not be assessed as one category. I try and have test groups where I will tests different material per a group of participants.


Case Studies

“Can sometimes be misleading because by nature can not be replicated, also run the risk of over generalizing.”

One would have to assess multiple case studies to ascertain definitive results on the outcome theories.

Relation to UX

This reminded me of Persona’s, don’t get me wrong personas can be a great way to create a visual representation of a group of similar users in a simple format. However when done wrong, or when not enough information is gathered on users it can result in misinformed decisions being made.


Naturalistic observation

“This is as indicated by the title, to observe the study in its natural habitat, the idea is to let the subjects do their thing without manipulating or trying to control the situation. This is great for describing behavior but not great for explaining the behavior.”

Relation to UX

You will often hear uxers motivate that you should take photos of your participants when you conduct usability tests and some even advocate for conducting usability testing in their natural habits. I think it depends on what the product is and if possible, so for example if it is an internal platform for staff to use it may be better to take the photos and observe participants at work and not home.


Surveys

“Surveys are a great way to access people’s attitudes and beliefs, but surveyors need to be careful about the way questions are constructed because questions can influence results.”

Relation to UX

The quantitative research falls under this category, this is where you can get valuable data on users through providing them with easy to answer questions.


Sampling Bias

“This is where a group of people are approached for their opinions etc, approaching a specific group that may all be similar is defined as a sampling bias, and when conducting research this needs to be taken into account”

Relation to UX

When sourcing participants, understand clearly the type of participants you will need to understand and ensure you are not creating personas from sample biased information collected.


Random Sample

“A random Sample would entail giving all people within the parameters of your target research project a fair chance at answering the questions”

Relation to UX

This can be difficult when you have a very specific product and participants are pulled from a approved pool of users or potential users. In this case users need to be researched to ensure they are correctly aligned with the targets of the Research conducted and then Random Samples can be obtained


And my favourite of all

Correlation does not equal causation

I will be doing an entire separate post on this in the future but to summarize shortly

“Correlations predict the possibility of cause and effect relationships, but they cannot prove them.”

Relation to UX

This is where quantitative research can help understand the why behind some of the decisions users make to see similar choices and data does not mean it comes from the same root idea etc.


Experiments

“Allow investigators to isolate different effects by manipulating an independent variable, and keeping other variables constant.”

Relation to UX

A good example of this would be A/B tests they are constructed to have 1 single difference. Namely A would have one type of icon on the button and perhaps B would have a word instead of an icon. This would then help researchers understand if users understand the button. Again this will help users see that participants don’t use one of the options or like it less, but not why they chose it. The quantitative research will help a bit more with understanding why users do the things they do.


Experiments in more detail

“Within psychological experiments it is normally separated into two groups, one is the experimental group and the other is the control group. The experimental group gets experimented on and the control group is controlled and does not get changed. For the purpose of ensuring a random sample is taken and understood, a mixture of different types of people are put together in both groups to ensure the findings are not a sample bias.” Check out the video below if the text got too much 😉

This was a rather long post, I hope you enjoyed going through the terms as much as I did. It will probably spark some other ideas in my next usability test and I will probably be referring back to this at some point, happy researching until next time

Bye for now

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