Edit page Add new page

Writing and using discussion guides

We create discussion guides to help us plan and do research activities, like interviews, visits, workshops and usability tests.

They help us to:

The parts of a discussion guide #

Introduction #

Recap the goals of the project and the research activity, describe the methods you’ll be using, and set out the overall structure of the research session.

Preparation #

Describe anything the researcher needs to have or do, to prepare for the session. Reference things like the information sheet to send to participants, describe how to set up the prototype you’ll be testing, and reference the notes template you want to use.

Welcome #

Set out the things you’ll say to the participant to let them them know what’s going on and make sure they feel comfortable. It can be helpful to write this out word for word, so you have something to fall back on when you’re tired, or get interrupted or distracted.

In your welcome you should:

Topics, tasks and activities #

Have a section in your guide for each of the main interview topics, test tasks or workshop activities.

For each one write out:

Wrap up #

Describe how the researcher should conclude the session with the participant. This can include asking the participant for their final thoughts, asking them how the session went for them, letting them know what will happen next, and thanking them for their time.

Also include any steps for the researcher, like collecting and storing recordings, or deleting data from prototypes.

Three discussion guide templates #

We have template discussion guides for three different kinds of research activities:

Last updated: 9 May 2023 (history)