Mixed Method UX Research – Maximize the impact of your results

Colin Reitz

Senior UX/UI Designer

Feb 2023

3 min read

How can you reliably take on new perspectives and make valid decisions to increase the quality of work results?

This is one of the questions I often asked myself in my daily UX life. I devoted more time to UX research and design with data in order to have an effective tool that allows me to get the best knowledge of users' needs.

However, then a new question occupied me: How can we ensure that the results from research are objective and reliable?

If we look at different types of research, for example, user surveys are a great way to gain insight into users' attitudes, but how can you ensure that the responses are actually representative of their behavior? Analytics data, on the other hand, is more objective, but often lacks context about the user, making it more difficult to interpret the data.

I came across the mixed methods research approach that assists with these challenges. This approach uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to gain a more comprehensive understanding of users' behavior.

Benefits of Mixed Methods

Mixed methods research fundamentally improves our understanding of research findings while increasing their objectivity and neutrality. By combining qualitative and quantitative methods, you can gain a deeper understanding of the "why" and "how" of users' behavior.

Why is it important to know both aspects? We thus combine two complementary perspectives, the users' views and actual behavior, which can be quite different in practice. The mixed methods research approach gives us a more comprehensive insight into user experiences and can significantly improve the reliability, validity, and applicability of results.

Mixed Methods in practice

Mixed methods are always about validating results by combining qualitative and quantitative research methods.

To determine which research methods you should use, define a clear goal for your research as well as questions you want to answer. Determine what type of data you need to collect to answer your research question and choose your methods based on that.

For example, you can conduct a survey to gather data about users' preferences, attitudes, and behaviors, and supplement this information with usability testing to understand how users interact with interfaces.

When evaluating the results, correlations or contradictions between users' attitudes and behavior can then be identified.

When to use Mixed Methods?

There are in fact only reasons to use mixed methods unless you can clearly determine that one research method already gives you all the results you need.

It can't be said enough, mixed methods can be a valuable tool for gaining a more comprehensive understanding of users' attitudes and behaviors in UX research. By leveraging the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative methods, you can not only validate hypotheses, but also use data in synergistic ways.

By using mixed methods, you can move away from subjectivity and improve the quality of your results. New perspectives resulting from diverse data sources can be very important for making informed and unbiased decisions.