November 3-5, 2017 in Ottawa, Canada.
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Boston’s Zarla Ludin will debut at CanUX in 2017

March 9, 2017 by Corneliux

The renowned researcher joins the CanUX 2017 lineup.

Dethroning Research Methods: Reflective Alternatives to Study Design
} Nov 4/5, 2017   TBD / 45 MINUTES

How often do you hear from stakeholders ‘we need to run a focus group?’ as a way to indicate that research needs to be run. We refer to this reality as Leading with Method – a common practice that researchers in industry must address, but have come to just accept as a business constraint. Leading with Method happens in organizations where method and research studies are indiscriminate, and confusion exists around the benefits of research. In this presentation, attendees will learn helpful techniques to design studies around all critical research variables, not only method.

There is definitely a place and value for method: interviews, focus groups, usability tests, ethnography, are just a few methods in our toolkit that help address our organizations’ human-centered questions. Researchers have the skills and knowledge to leverage these methods in our toolkit to execute a well-crafted study. When others lead with method and we as researchers do not correct the confusion, we are viewed as being solely executors of methods. Confusing method with research can lead to a lack of strategic depth in study designs. When methods themselves become confusing (for example, focus group interviews, ethnographic inquiry), and methods and research studies are considered one and the same, the result is often a confused research study which then lacks in credibility.

twig+fish research practice will dive deeper into the reality of Leading with Method, and then offer a strategic alternative. Through pointed examples, the presenters will describe a strategic framework that has helped businesses align around research objectives, which then inform method. Researchers and stakeholders who find themselves in the situation of being reduced to haphazard studies will benefit from the thought shared on how to craft a credible and meaningful research study that does not lead with method. Stakeholders simply directing that a ‘focus group, or a ‘usability test’ be implemented need to be brought deeper into the fold beyond the buzzword. There is a better way! It is time to take back the research process so that the valuable output of a good research study is the result of mindful decisions that can be thoughtfully shared in the organization.

Speaker Bio: Zarla Ludin

Zarla is the co-founder of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA. Bringing an anthropological perspective to every project, Zarla is passionate about helping people build stronger connections with each other. Zarla’s expertise lies in her ability to help people reveal, reflect, and describe the parts of life everyone takes for granted. Zarla has a knack for helping teams access their natural curiosity and bring a more empathic lens into their work.

Prior to twig+fish, Zarla was Director of Insights at Motivate Design and a Senior Researcher for Essential. Her many years in consulting have given her the insight into team dynamics that make twig+fish a unique form of human-centered consulting. Zarla has worked for design, marketing, engineering, and brand teams in a number of domains including civic services, financial, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, and engineered products.

Zarla has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an MS in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University. Outside of work, Zarla is a certified yoga instructor and avid sea glass hunter!

For more info, you can follow Zarla on on Twitter @zarlashtah

*Image credit: CanUX & Zarla Ludin

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