Week 7 Reading Notes and Thoughts

2 mins into the reading:

I’m also taking STAT 501. I think my STAT teacher would be really mad, if he saw this. The reading argued that since we can’t put tight controls on people like we do in physical experiment, and since human behaviors are too complex and subject to many variables, it’s better to use qualitative research rather than quantitative research. I think this makes sense. But I think it’s wrongful to say that quantitative research can only answer “how much” and “how many”, but not “how” and “why”. Statistics analysis association between different variables and causation of changes of them, although some associations found through statistical inference may seem absurd in practical sense.

4 mins into the reading

OK. So the author then argues that qualitative research is faster, easier, and less expensive. The example he gave about investigating the need for a video-edit software is kind of interesting. He said he used 4 days to visit 12 people. From a statistical stand point, the sample size of 12 is too small to draw any reliable conclusion. If statistician were asked to do this, I would imagine him to send out questionnaires to 1000 people to get response of 100. So, this way of qualitative research is indeed faster, easier, and less expensive. But A statistician can tell you how accurate his statement is by giving either a confidence level or probability. It seems to me that qualitative research can’t give anything like that. So, how can I make sure that the result of a qualitative research is solid enough to invest tons of money on it?

6 mins into the reading:

Stakeholder interview: So the informations that we can extract from stakeholder interview are preliminary product vision, budget and schedule, technical constraints and opportunities, and business drives, stakeholders’ perceptions of the user. Well, it’s kind of interesting to see things being broken down to this, ’cause from apple’s presentations that I’ve seen, they just tell you just want to invent a revolutionary product, or change the world. I think in fact they must take these things that’s mentioned here into consideration too, or otherwise they won’t have a “new thing” to show the world every once a while. For example, when iPad2 came out, they weren’t ready for introducing the retina display yet, but the competition of other companies was catching up really fast. So they put out iPad2 without the retina display and saved it for iPad3. And it was very successful for them. They could say that at that specific time, there were no company other than Apple that can produce a product that’s this thin, this powerful (dual processor), and this easy to use (iOS).

8 mins into reading:

SMEs are experts of users. Customers are the people who pay but not necessarily the people who use it. For example, for the iPad app for cats, cats are the users but the cat owners are the customers.

10 mins into reading:

Finally, it’s time for user interview and user observation. So, the reason to have both interview and observation of users is that we care about them but we don’t trust them enough to believe whatever they say, and we have to see them behave ourselves.

14 mins into reading

Literature review and product and competitive audits happen in parallel with stakeholder interview and SMEs.

24 mins into reading

I think this part is combining the things that were listed above to use. It’s called Ethnographic interview, or more specifically a method called contextual inquiry.

So identifying candidates starts with persona hypothesis which depends on factors such as demography, roles, behaviors, and the environment.  Then it’s to create a interview plan. Four to six interviews for each factor. Overlap is allowed. Then conducting interviews.

32 mins into reading

Here comes Focus group, Market demographics and market segments, Card sorting task analysis. Loosing focus…

Well, there are so many methods. And it seems to me that their is the significant overlap of the function of them. And some of them work better together, and some of them alone can give good answers. I would prefer the book tells the process linearly, like first, second, third…etc. I wouldn’t mind knowing all the options, I just want to see who they are put to use in a specific case.

Dylan Liu


1 thought on “Week 7 Reading Notes and Thoughts

  1. Dylan,

    At this early point in your studies, I believe it is important to be aware that there are options: there’s quantitative research, qualitative research, and several methods and varieties of each.

    As you go deeper into your studies, it will be important to learn how to choose the most appropriate method for the research question and the context.

    For now, keep in mind that both quantitative and qualitative research can yield valid and reliable findings, but they produce different insights, and are evaluated by different criteria. As a rule of thumb, quantitative research enables breadth, and qualitative – depth. Also, one of the main limitations of quantitative research is that it only provides answers to the questions you ask. In some instances where you may not know enough to even decide what the important questions are, it is helpful to conduct qualitative research. Because it is more open ended, it allows new topics to emerge – topics that you may not have known to ask about in the first place.

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