Crafting effective user research questions is both an art and a science. Regardless of what kind of data you’re looking to collect, all research questions should be:
clear and concise so that they’re understandable to all research participants,
relevant to the study you’re conducting,
specific to the problem or task at hand,
sequential, meaning they follow a logical order and make the project flow naturally,
actionable enough to give you the data you need to make changes.
Good research questions will also help you pick the right research methods and tools. For instance, if your question starts with “how much” or “how many”, you’ll need to deploy quantitative methods. If they begin with “why”, “how”, or “describe”, qualitative methods are what you need.
Research questions vs. interview questions
While user research questions and user interview questions might sound similar, they differ mainly in their application within the context of user research.
User research questions are high-level questions that guide the entire user research process. They define what you want to learn from the research and form the basis for your research objectives and methodology.
They could sound like: "How do users interact with our product?" or "What are the main obstacles users face when trying to complete a task with our product?"
The aim is to identify what data needs to be collected and the most appropriate methods to use (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations, etc.).
User interview questions, on the other hand, are the specific questions that researchers ask users during a user interview, which is one particular method of user research.
User interview questions are developed based on broader user research questions and are used to collect qualitative data directly from users.
For example, if your user research question is "What are the main obstacles users face when trying to complete a task with our product?" a corresponding user interview question could be "Can you describe a time when you faced difficulty using our product to complete your task?"
Examples of user research questions
Let’s look at a few examples of user research questions to inspire your research process.
"Can you rate these product features in terms of importance?"
Asking your users to rank specific features in order of importance might help you understand what they value most about your product and make data-driven decisions about improving it.
This open-ended question is a fundamental query in user experience research as it allows users to define their objectives and challenges in their own words, providing insights into what they expect from your product or service.
It’s important you don’t make assumptions about what the user's problem might be. Asking them directly ensures that you're basing your design decisions on real user needs, not on what you think those needs might be.
This question can also help you generate ideas for features or functions. Users often have unique insights into their problems and might suggest innovative solutions.
"How much would you pay for this product?"
This question is asked to collect data on how much users are willing to pay for a product or service.
By analyzing the answers, you can better understand how much your customers value what you provide and make more informed pricing decisions as a result.
The question can be asked as part of a willingness-to-pay (WTP) survey, which typically includes other questions about users’ readiness to pay different prices for the same product or service.
"What tools or products do you currently use to accomplish your task?"
Understanding what products or services users currently use gives you a clear picture of your competition. You can then investigate these products further to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
If users are using certain tools, it implies there's a need they're trying to address. By discovering what these tools are, you can deduce the underlying needs or problems the user is facing.
“What does this product/service help you do?”
Similar to the question above, this query can help you learn more about your user's reason for using your product or service.
It allows you to see it through the user's eyes and understand what they believe the product does for them, which may not necessarily align with what you think it offers.
This question will also identify the main benefits users derive from the product or service, which are the value proposition from the user's perspective and should be emphasized in your marketing and product development.
The information you’ll get by asking this question might help you outsmart your competition by getting a deep insight into your users’ buying process.
"Can you describe a situation when the product didn't meet your expectations?"
Answers to this question will give you a clearer picture of where your product might be falling short and how it can be improved to better meet user needs.
Asking the user to describe a particular situation helps to focus their feedback. Rather than speaking in generalities, they're prompted to think of a concrete instance, which can provide more detailed and actionable insights.
This question invites constructive criticism, encouraging users to express not just their disappointments but also to suggest changes.
"Can you walk me through your typical day?"
This question helps uncover the context in which the user might interact with your product or service. It provides insights into the user's daily activities, schedule, and environment, which can greatly influence how and when they use the product.
Asking a user to describe their typical day is a form of contextual inquiry. It provides a richer, more holistic view of the user, and the insights gained can guide the design process to create a more effective, user-friendly product or service.
Send automated user research questions with surveys
When selecting the right questions, tailoring your approach to your specific users can unlock a treasure trove of insights, leading to informed decisions and an improved product or service.
The ready-to-use survey templates we shared should act as a springboard for your user research journey, providing a solid starting point from which you can further refine and customize your inquiry.
You can use any of them plus many more simply by signing up for a 10-day free Survicate trial. All you need to do is set up the surveys once to enjoy continuous user insights. Keep asking, learning, and innovating!
Senior Content Editor
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Lidia is a Senior Content Editor at Survicate. She’s a passionate customer experience advocate and strives to educate and inspire her readers to improve their own customer journeys. In her blog posts, Lidia focuses on the latest trends and best practices in the industry. She believes that by sharing her expertise she can help businesses of all sizes to elevate their customer experience. When she’s not writing, Lidia enjoys reading books, attending industry conferences, and testing out new customer service technologies.
NET PROMOTER, NPS, AND THE NPS-RELATED EMOTICONS ARE REGISTERED U.S. TRADEMARKS, AND NET PROMOTER SCORE AND NET PROMOTER SYSTEM ARE SERVICE MARKS, OF BAIN & COMPANY, INC., SATMETRIX SYSTEMS, INC. AND FRED REICHHELD.