How to Conduct Field Research

A field guide to assist with user research

This Field Research Guide includes an interview protocol and a pre-visit workbook to support you in planning and running research during an onsite visit.


Give structure and consistency to end-user interviews and observations


Designers, Business Leads


1 - 2 days



Before You Start

Use the Explore phase to select the best innovation opportunities
To make sure that you have identified and selected the best innovation opportunities according to your company’s strategic goals and objectives, we recommend you use the Explore phase methods suggested here:

Recommended Path: Explore

Materials you will need

Templates for Download


Using the Field Research Guide includes several steps. It can take up to several days to complete them all.
  • 60 - 90 min

Develop interview protocol

Develop an interview protocol that the team members all agree on. See the Interview Protocol example at the end of the Field Research Guide PDF.

  • Variable

Send workbook to customer

Send a workbook upfront to the customer/end-users to get a first feeling before the in-person visit. See the pre-visit workbook at the end of the Field Research Guide PDF (use download above).

  • 90 min / interview

Run the interviews

Pair up for interviews as an interviewer and a notetaker. Listen, be curious, and ask ‘why’. Be mindful of body language (your own and the interviewee’s).

  • Variable

Observe and record

When you have a chance to observe the user, take a lot of photos and videos (make sure you have permission to do so). Collect any artifacts relevant for your design challenge. Write down your impressions.

  • 30 - 60 min / interview

Do a debrief

Debrief with your team members after each interview and observation session. Discuss and write down your findings.

You're done!

You can use all your insights later and throughout the project to inform the design of the solution.