Help & Support

What types of studies can I run on User Interviews?

written by
Brittany Rutherford
Last updated:
June 9, 2021

Different study needs call for different types of studies! Our four study types, along with our three study formats (online, over the phone, or in person) can help schedule participants for any type of study you may be running.

If you're new to user research, check out our field guide to learn about different discovery methods.

Study types

When building your project you'll be presented with four options: 1-on-1 interviews, focus groups, multi day studies, and unmoderated tasks. The study type you choose primarily changes how you can set up the schedule in the last step of the project builder.

1-on-1 interview

This is the most common study type on User Interviews! Schedule participants for a one participant per interview session. This can be an online, phone, or in-person interaction.

Although it's called a 1-on-1, we know many studies will have multiple researchers in the interview for every one participant—that's no problem! This study type is best for more exploratory research, field research, and for getting a participant's take on a design, prototype, or concept.

When you choose 1-on-1 interview for the study type, you'll set the session length in the "Session details" section of the project builder. We'll then automatically format sessions of that length when you add sessions under "Scheduling".

Here I've set sessions to be 1 hour long. I've synced my calendar to make finding availability easy.

If you want to schedule multiple participants at the same time, such as if you have multiple moderators running sessions, you can add multiple 1 slot sessions for that time.

A launched project's "Confirmed sessions" section will look like this. Notice that there's 1 slot per session.

Focus groups

Traditionally, focus groups are used to schedule multiple participants for a group session. This session may be online or in-person. We generally discourage over the phone focus groups as they can be a bit chaotic! Focus groups are a great way to initiate a group-think type of conversation where participants collaborate or play off of eachother to discuss a topic.

When you choose focus group for the study type, you'll set the session length in the "Session details" section of the project builder. We'll then automatically format sessions of that length when you add sessions under "Scheduling".

On the "Scheduling" section, enter the default number of participants per session.

When adding session to the schedule, they'll then auto populate sessions with that many slots.

A launched project's "Confirmed sessions" section will look like this. Notice that there's 5 slots per session.


Multi day studies

Multi day studies are a bit of a catch-all for any type of study requiring more than a one time participation. The key here is if the study requires more than a one-off event, and/or the session spans more than one day, it is a multi day study. This can be an online, phone, or in-person interaction, and is sometimes a combination of two or more of these formats.

For example, a multi day study can be:

  • A diary study where participants must record their response for a span of time.
  • A product test where a participant must test or interact with an app, website, etc. for a span of time.
  • A study requiring multiple touchpoints. For example, if you need to interview a participant, have them go to a grocery store and purchase a specific product, then have a closing phone call, that would be a multi day study.
  • A participant being required to complete multiple, separate unmoderated tasks or surveys. For example, maybe you ask a participant to fill out 1 survey a week for a month. That is a multi day study.

When you choose multi day for the study type, you'll set the session length in the "Session details" section of the project builder. The session length should consider the full date span a participant will need to have availability in. For example, if a participant will need to fill out 1 survey a week for a month, the session length is 1 month. We recommend adding the time and requirements within that date span in the study description so participants understand the study expectations before applying. We'll then automatically format sessions of that length when you add sessions under "Scheduling".

Please note that if you have individual touchpoints, tasks, or deliverables within that span you'll need to communicate those to participants either via the Messages tool or by email and schedule those individual events or deadlines off platform. Our scheduling system only takes into consideration the full length of the multi day study, and events or deadlines within the date span cannot be scheduled on our platform. Participants will be reminded of their session before the start of the multi day study, but will not receive additional reminders throughout the date span. Any other reminders will need to manually be sent to participants. If you choose to have UI distribute incentives, participants cannot receive partial incentive payments for completing certain portions of your study. We can only pay out for sessions in their entirety.

Similar to focus groups, on the "Scheduling" section, enter the default number of participants per session.

When adding session to the schedule, they'll then auto populate sessions with that many slots.

A launched project's "Confirmed sessions" section will look like this. Notice that there's 5 slots per session.

Unmoderated Task

Unmoderated tasks are commonly surveys or user tests, and are tasks a participant must complete on their own time before a deadline. Unmoderated tasks can only be completed online.

An unmoderated task may be a simple SurveyMonkey or Google Forms survey, an assignment like asking them to record a video of themselves using a product or responding to a question, or any other task where a moderator does not need to be present.

When you choose an unmoderated task for the study type, we'll prompt you to set a deadline on the "Session details" section of the project builder. You won't see the "Scheduling" section for this study type.

A launched project's "Confirmed sessions" section will look like this. Notice the deadline.

Participants can submit their task anytime before the deadline. We recommend adding the task link in the "Location link" section of the builder and adding any instructions in the "Instructions for confirmed participants" of your project before approving participants so they can get started right away!

Study formats

When building your project you'll be presented with one to three options based on your selected study type: online, over the phone, or in person. The study format you choose primarily changes how we present location fields and if we show the Zoom integration option in the project builder.

Online

This is the most popular study format at User Interviewers! Online studies can be unmoderated or moderated. If the participant is using a link of some sort to access the study to participate, it's an online study! For example, online studies may include 1-on-1 interviews via Zoom, a focus group via Webex, or a unmoderated task via Lookback. Online studies are great for studies requiring a visual component, like showing designs or prototypes, if you need to screen share, or just so you can talk face to face.

When setting up your online project, you'll be able to choose acceptable device types participants use for their session.

When setting up your project, choose to have the Zoom integration automatically generate and send unique meeting links, or opt to include your own default location link. You can then update the session link once participants have confirmed.

Participants will automatically be sent links autogenerated by Zoom, default location links included in the project builder, or links added to a live projectbefore approving in the participants confirmation and reminder emails.

Over the phone

Phone studies are primarily moderated, and usually involve the researcher calling a participant at their session time. You'll receive the participant's phone number after they confirm, or, if you have Double Screening, will see it before they're confirmed. Phone studies are great for simple conversations where analyzing facial expressions isn't necessary, or if you don't need to show participants designs or prototypes.

When setting up your project, choose whether you want to call participants or have them dial in. If you choose dial-in, include the number they should call in the study instructions which will be included in the participant's confirmation and reminder emails.

In person

In person studies are moderated, and involve the participant and researcher meeting up in real life. In person studies are great for more hands on product testing, for studies where you'd like to observe someone in their home or office, or if you'd just like to experience their full in person body language as it relates to specific questions or topics.

When setting up your project, choose whether the study will be conducted at a certain location, like your office or a local store (for shopalongs), at the participant's location, like their home or office, or a mutually agreed upon location, like a coffee shop.

If you choose "My location", you'll be able to include the address in the builder. If you choose "Location to be determined", you'll be able to include the city where you're intending to have the sessions to give participants a general sense for where the location may be.

Was this page helpful?
YesNo

Related topics

New to User Interviews? Get started for free.

New to User Interviews?

Start getting paid for your feedback!