A detailed UX research plan helps you keep your overarching research goals in mind as you work through the logistics of a research project.
What is a user research plan?
A user research plan is a concise reference point for your project’s timeline, goals, main players, and objectives. It’s not always used extensively after the project has started, except to remind stakeholders of a project’s purpose, or to explain certain logistical decisions (like why certain types of participants were recruited).
Overall, research plans offer an overview about the initiative taking place and serve as a kick-off document for a project. Their beauty lies in their capacity to keep your team on track, to ensure overarching goals are well-defined and agreed upon, and to guarantee those goals are met by the research.
Research plans keep the entire team focused on an outcome and provide an easy reference to keep “need-to-know” stakeholders in the know. They prevent everyone from getting bogged down in the details and from switching the goal of the research in the middle by mistake.
Most importantly, they allow researchers (or whoever is doing the research) to ensure the objectives of the research plan will be answered in the most effective and efficient way possible by the end of the project. We want to make sure we are actually answering the questions we set out to uncover, and research plans enable us to do so.