UX Research Ops: The Basics, Frameworks, and How ReOps Supports User Researchers

Piyush Kumar
October 19, 2022
Research ops framework


At its core, UX research is about understanding users and their needs. It's a critical part of the product development process, informing everything from strategy to design to development.

As UX research teams have expanded and become more complex, the number of hurdles they have to overcome has increased as well. Coordinating multiple projects and stakeholders while staying on top of the newest methods and best practices can be difficult.

As a growing organization, it can be difficult to keep up with research needs. Teams may experience communication problems, fragmenting processes, and misunderstandings leading to different priorities at different times. UX research operations can help you scale while maintaining quality, even as your team grows. They'll help establish best practices, increase process efficiencies, and improve coordination.

What is UX Research Ops?

UX research operations is what we would call the process of managing and conducting UX research within an organization. This usually includes establishing best practices, set up workflows, and training researchers in some capacity.

The goal of UX research operations is to make sure that UX research is being done efficiently and effectively so that it can be used to inform product decisions. This can help improve products and make them more user-friendly.

The origins of Research Ops—from tweet to global community to in-demand career path.

User researchers have been hampered by difficulties, like participant recruitment and legal documentation, for as long as they've been conducting research. However, back in 2013 the DesignOps movement developed. It was based on how research could help elevate design and the difficulties of conducting high-quality research. User research teams were feeling pressure from balancing their operational tasks with research and designers started looking for ways to handle this new issue.

When Kate Towsey created a Slack Community that allowed people to come together and discuss emerging issues in ResearchOps, there was an explosion of interest. Since Kate first tweeted about the ResearchOps Community on March 8th, 2018, it has grown into a thriving global community with thousands of members. The field of researchops has turned into the go-to career path for many UX teams as more organizations start to realize how important this discipline is to their success.

Research Ops framework

The six common focus areas of the Research Ops framework include:

Participant management is a key component of research operations, and includes tasks like recruiting, screening, scheduling, and distributing incentives.

Governance Governance-The importance of governance is a point that cannot be ignored. Research Ops seeks to help with this effort by providing processes and guidelines for participants consent, privacy and data storage.

Knowledge management is closely tied to governance and is the process of collecting, interpreting and then sharing insights from research.

Tools. The Research Ops team is responsible for both strategically procuring and managing the tools and platforms that increase research efficiencies.

Competency The competency of researchers includes enabling other people in the company to perform research, you can say People who do research or PWDR, such as designers, product managers, and marketers to perform research through guides, templates, training, and onboarding.

Communication and Advocacy The Research Ops team is focused on three important objectives: communication, advocacy, and research. Communication refers to their willingness to educate their coworkers and encourage new research practices in the workplace. They also engage in public advocacy for user-centered design. Lastly, they help share, socialize and spread the word about all of the value user research provides to an organization as a whole.

How ReOps supports user researchers

Research operations teams have both formal and informal positions. Depending on your role in the team, you can influence strategic decision-making for the research arm of the company or be tasked with day-to-day activities like preparing for a research project. And you get to work with UX researchers every day! You'll help them partake in research projects or give your input on a proposal as needed.

Before the study, it's important to prepare for the study by setting up participant recruitment strategies to get the right participants from the outset

During the research, it's essential to make sure you provide incentives to keep them motivated, organize their responses and records, and meet all legal compliance regulations.

After the study is over, it's helpful to maintain a research repository for access points for future studies. It's also good to track outreach efforts so you don't overwhelm potential participants with requests to participate in more studies too soon.

How to learn about Re-Ops

It's difficult to find a degree program that matches the day-to-day tasks of a ResOps professional, since they vary from organization to organization—it's still not a widespread career. However, you can learn about what skills and experiences are important in the ResOps field by reading reviews and watching interviews with experts in the industry. Here are some resources you can go through:

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Piyush is originally from Lucknow and could go on and on about "Lucknowi kebabs" and "Wes Anderson movies." He enjoys observing, conducting user interviews, and learning about people's behaviours and attitudes. He would spend his free time with his Oculus VR headset. Say hi to him.