How to rehome your qualitative research notes into Reframer

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Making sense of your notes from qualitative research activities can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming. On one hand, it’s fun being out on the field and jotting down observations on a notepad, or sitting in on user interviews and documenting observations into a spreadsheet.

However, at some point, writing notes gives way to analyzing them. You can often become so involved with making sure you jot things down that when it comes time to analyze your results, it becomes a tricky job. Tagging (or coding) what you’ve seen and heard and then searching for coherent patterns in the mass of material you’ve collected is a big task.

Storing these observations somewhere for future reference can also be problematic for those of us who practice “continual improvement” — the ongoing process of perfecting products and services. Changing file formats, storage services, and column header preferences; everything is constantly evolving. Yet, we’d all love to be able to compare this month’s research to what we did last year, right?

This is where Optimal Workshop’s Reframer steps in. This tool allows you to import your observations, resulting in Reframer becoming the repository for all your qualitative research notes. No longer will old notes lose their value as the memories fade and files go missing. As we continue to build out Reframer’s analysis tools to help you find and articulate the insights you’ve uncovered, the value of your work will only increase over time. It’s our hope that some day Reframer will help create extended narratives with meta-analysis, synthesizing and combining the work you’ve done over many qualitative research projects. By using Reframer to house your observations, you’ll build up a treasure trove of stories and knowledge to draw on any time, enhancing your understanding and the quality of your decision-making.

New feature: Time to give your old user research notes a new home

Think about all those past research sessions you facilitated where you uncovered some powerful insights and trends. Where do all those research notes and observations live now? Perhaps in some clunky Excel spreadsheet that can’t be integrated into your future learnings and projects. How does one correlate research when it’s in such a format? A lot of hacking, I’d say — if you even have the time to hack at it.

In addition, that spreadsheet is probably hiding somewhere in an email attachment or in Dropbox, cultivating dust. Well, the team at Optimal Workshop is here to change that and give your work traceability. You can now import those critical artifacts into Reframer, our qualitative research tool, and give those insights a safe new home.

How do I add old user research observations into Reframer?

Simple — follow these quick steps:

  1. Head to Reframer and create a new session.
  2. Click “Import” within the observation input field.
  3. Download the spreadsheet template from the pop-up window.
  4. Fill in the spreadsheet with the information you want to import (observations, tags, ratings).
  5. Copy the data from the spreadsheet into the pop-up in Reframer.
  6. See your imported observations beautifully appear in that Reframer session.
  • If you know the precise time your observations were imported, you can include that too. Simply select the time zone in which the observation was recorded so we can keep track of it correctly.
  • If you’re including tags in the import, you can head directly to the visualizations for some eye candy. If not, you can tag your notes for the session first.

Start building your home full of observations, insights, and themes, and kick-start your qualitative research. Reframer is still in beta right now. Please check it out and let us know what you think!

Published on Apr 21, 2016
Ellery Prisk
  • Ellery Prisk
  • Ellery is one of Optimal Workshop's many talented developers. Fun facts about Ellery: When he's not at work you can catch him partaking in salsa dancing, hitting up the gym, or creating random lil' apps.

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