Democratizing Research Can Help Scale the Impact of Research

Ogaga john
3 min readAug 8, 2022
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

The democratization of user research allows anyone to study users. Assessment, training, coaching and helpful resources help individuals and teams succeed.

The democratization of research can increase the impact of research by educating and enabling each team in the organization to interact more closely with customers, access high-quality information, and make fact-based decisions.

The Benefits of Making it Possible for More People to Do User Research

Getting research done faster

The obvious benefit of allowing more people to do user searches is that it increases the likelihood of more searches being done, especially in organizations with no one in research positions or where professional researchers cannot meet demand. For example, imagine you are a designer on a team with no professional researchers. You think user research is necessary, so be creative and resourceful and find a way to do research. It is commendable! Even an imperfect user search is usually much better than no search.

Boosts Productivity

Some designers, product managers, developers, content editors, and people in other roles like to do user research. They enjoy interacting with customers, using the information to make decisions and enjoy a variety of tasks in their jobs. Giving them the opportunity to do research ultimately helps them learn new skills and increases their perception of growth and value for their teams and the organization.

Increased knowledge about user research

Whenever someone plans, conducts and conducts user research, they become more aware of the effort and complexity involved. Sometimes they share this new knowledge with others. Even those who don’t grasp all the nuances involved or make mistakes will likely realize there is more to research than meets the eye.

Make it Safe for Everyone to Participate in Research

One way to secure everyone’s participation in research is to identify which research is appropriate for a democratized practice and what responsibilities you are willing to share with your stakeholders.

Think about the following:

  • What types of research can you allow non-researchers?
  • Where should they collaborate with a researcher?
  • When do you think a researcher could best lead a project?

There are no right or wrong answers. Just think about your specific needs to determine which approach works best for your organization.

How Democratization of User Research Might Work

Evaluate the demand for research

Identify the research needs of your organization’s users. Go beyond what is currently being done. Consider both quantitative and qualitative research. For example, planning strategic studies at the early design discoveries and iterative user testing in areas related to core business. Reactionary research is research that arises unexpectedly during a project, such as a User testing a prototype for a new feature requested by a large client.

Equip Non-Researchers

Equip non-researchers with the necessary tools and resources to carry out their research activities independently and efficiently. Valuable resources include knowledge based on research principles and best practices, manuals and step-by-step guides with how-to tips, research tools to streamline the research process, templates for conducting research, connecting with clients, writing research reports, and more.

On Final Note

Good user research requires many skills, and most of them come with experience and education. The good news is that many of these skills are easy to learn.

Empowering product teams to learn is a great way to extend the impact of product research across the business. We hope these five principles can help you scale the search in your organization. With proper education and safeguards, everyone can play an active role in research and make more informed decisions.



Ogaga john

User Experience (UX) Designer creating user-centred products | User Interface (UI) Designer | Creative Graphics Designer