A Black man is out of focus in the background, he holds out his glasses, which are clear in the foreground

User Testing

Today, I incorporated the feedback that we received overnight on our draft materials for our randomised control trial. I’m going to discuss user testing, and why it’s a big part of the applied sociology work that I do, running randomised control trials for social policy.

I started work at 8:30am. We went back and forth in the team to double check our revisions and the logic of our work. Then I was able to send that off for user testing at midday. In this case, we invited volunteers from another policy area to review and comment on the materials we plan to use in our trial.

This process is a notable difference about being an applied sociologist, as opposed to the work of an academic.

Unless academics are working as part of a research team, the only time they typically go for external feedback would be at the ethics stage. (We also undertake ethics.) While academics may seek feedback from colleagues, they don’t have to it until they’re ready to publish their work and they go for peer review, when they publish in a scientific journal.

Whereas for us, there we have lots of layers of governance. We have many stakeholders that we continually check in with. We user test our work every step of the way.

Another big task for today was to finalise the Minutes from our Governance Group for our disability project, as well as our recommendations paper, which is making significant suggestions on how to improve data in systems across our sector.

Finally, over lunch, just in my own time, I caught up with a couple of colleagues I haven’t seen in a while over zoom. It was so nice to see them and to hear about their fantastic project. They’re super lovely people.

OECD (2017)

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