Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Researcher Skills Workshop

This week I attended a Researcher Skills Workshop in Bournemouth. It was very nice to just walk round the corner from the office, rather than jump on a train to London.

If you have been following anything about User Research on Twitter you are likely to have come across the term Research Ops, which covers everything research from setting up research studies to communicating the benefits and results across your organisation and everything in-between.

There is a slack channel which I am on the waiting list to join but they have also put together a ‘workshop in a box’ for Researchers all over the world to work through to help them see what skills they already have and what skills they might want to focus on to move forward in their career.

For me the timing was perfect as my first development review is coming up and although I have been thinking about it, having an idea of where I want to be in five years time is hard.

The workshop was very intimate with only 12 people in attendance, but this was really nice, meaning we could discuss our thoughts with a slightly larger group rather than in pairs and so see a bit more of what others are doing.

We started by drawing out our team/organisation ecosystem. This was fascinating as we had a mixture of people who work in-house, free-lance or as consultants, which are all very different.

We then drew a map of a typical project journey. This allowed me to see the bits that frustrate me, where I need to learn more skills and what I really enjoy.

We were then given two lists of skills - craft skills - all the methods we use as researchers; and human skills - all the stuff around working with other people, whether they are participants, people within our organisation or external contractors.

We had to mark all the skills we currently use and which ones we think we need to work on to advance as a researcher.

While I know they wanted individual skills I think right now I need to work on a more broad set of skills especially around analysis and synthesis.

It was a really interesting evening and although it did not give me any solid answers it gave me the time to think about what I do and what the future might hold. It was also lovely to meet some new people from the area who do similar stuff to me. I hope we might be able to have more events like this going forward.

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