As user researchers, our job is to gather insights from people to inform our designs and strategies. We use various methods, including interviews, to understand their needs, wants, and behaviors. However, our biases can influence how we interpret the data, which can result in inaccurate findings. This blog will discuss tips and strategies for overcoming bias in doing interviews and staying objective.
What is bias, and why is it important to overcome it?
Bias is a predisposition or preference for or against something or someone. As human beings, we all have biases, whether we are aware of them or not. Bias can be conscious or unconscious, and it can affect how we perceive and interpret the data we collect.
Overcoming bias is important because it can lead to inaccurate and incomplete data, which can result in flawed designs and strategies. It can also create ethical issues and harm the people we are researching. Overcoming bias is a critical component of good research and is essential for ensuring that our designs and strategies meet the needs of our users.
Tips and Strategies for Overcoming Bias in doing Interviews
1. Acknowledge your biases
The first step in overcoming bias is to acknowledge that you have biases. Everyone has biases, and it is impossible to eliminate them completely. However, by recognizing and acknowledging them, you can take steps to minimize their influence on your research.
2. Prepare thoroughly
Preparing thoroughly for interviews can help you stay objective. Before conducting an interview, review your research goals, prepare a list of questions, and familiarize yourself with the topic. This can help you stay focused and reduce the impact of your biases.
3. Use open-ended questions
Using open-ended questions can help you avoid leading participants and elicit more detailed and honest responses. Closed-ended questions can be limiting and may only confirm your biases. Open-ended questions allow participants to share their thoughts and experiences in their own words.
4. Listen actively
Active listening involves paying attention to what the participant is saying, asking clarifying questions, and reflecting on what you have heard. This can help you avoid misinterpreting their responses and help you stay objective.
5. Avoid leading questions
Leading questions can influence participants to respond in a certain way, which can skew your data. For example, asking, "Do you want to pay for this product?" implies that the user can get it for free as well and might give a lower answer. Instead, ask, "What are your thoughts on the price of the product?" or "What tooling do you use right now and how many hours does it take?" This gives a clear understanding of how much they are willing to spend in money and hours, so a calculation can be made on reduced hours or spending.
6. Take notes
Taking notes during interviews can help you stay focused and remember important details. It can also help you analyze the data later and identify any biases that may have influenced your interpretation. Or record the session (with consent) and upload it in Jaide, the transcribing will be done for you.
7. Use multiple data sources
Using multiple data sources can help you verify your findings and reduce the impact of your biases. For example, if you are conducting interviews, you can also collect data through surveys or observation. Or invite other close target groups to see the similarity and differences.
8. Analyze your data objectively
When analyzing your data, it is essential to do so objectively. Avoid making assumptions or jumping to conclusions before analyzing all the data. Use tools and techniques like affinity diagrams, personas, and journey maps to organize your data and identify patterns and trends.
9. Get feedback from others
Getting feedback from other researchers or stakeholders can help you identify any biases you may have missed. It can also help you see your data from a different perspective and provide valuable insights. Reach out on LinkedIn, Discord, or a local meetup. Online the UX communities UserWizards and IterateUX are a good start.
Overcoming bias in doing interviews is essential for good research. By acknowledging your biases, preparing thoroughly, using open-ended questions, actively listening, avoiding leading questions, taking notes, using multiple data sources, analyzing your data objectively, and getting feedback from others, you can stay objective and collect accurate and meaningful data.
Remember, bias is a natural part of being human, and it is impossible to eliminate it completely