Guidance library

Guidance and advice about how we plan and deliver user research in DfE.

These guidance articles have been written by experts across the DfE user research community, or by the Research Operations team.

We encourage and welcome feedback on any of this content: we want to add to and improve it over time. We're also actively looking for feedback on any article marked as 'beta'. Any article marked as 'in development' is still being produced, and may significantly change over time. Any article marked as 'coming soon' is currently being produced.

Any DfE user researcher can get involved in creating guidance content to support the community. Contact Ethics Club or the head of user research.

Ethical research and safeguarding

Guidance Details Status
Gaining informed consent How to ensure fully informed consent from participants when our standard methods are not appropriate Beta
Participant safeguarding Advice on keeping particpants safe during research, and what to do if you have a safeguarding concern Beta
Reducing burden on DfE's users Ensuring we always use our users' time well, and don't create a burden In development
Research with children and young people Guidance and ideas to help you plan and conduct research with children and young people successfully, safely and ethically Beta
Researching with internal users Ethical risks and considerations when researching with colleagues and other internal staff Published
Using social media in user research Ethical considerations and constraints when using social media for user research In development

How to manage participants' personal data in user research

Guidance Details Status
Introduction to managing personal data in user research How we meet UK GDPR law and high ethical standards when handling the personal data in user research Published
What to do when planning a project or phase Setting up file storage, risk assessing your data collection, and other activities to do before you begin research Published
Collecting personal data during your research What to do as you collect personal data in research sessions Published
Using lists of people for participant recruitment Building and managing lists of people, and using other data in the department, to recruit participants Published
Anonymising UR personal data Understanding anonymisation and pseudonymisation in user research, and guidance and tips for doing this Published
After your research is finished Knowing how to continuing to manage personal data correctly after the end of a project or phase Published

Inclusive research

Guidance Details Status
Introduction to inclusive research Including all types of people who might use your service or be affected by your policy area Beta
Research with users with access needs Planning and delivering research with people with access needs Beta

Recruiting particpants for research

Guidance Details Status
Recruiting participants yourself (self-recruitment) Rules and guidance for when doing your own participant recruitment Beta
Using a commercial agency to recruit participants How to access DfE's contracted commercial supplier, and other suppliers Published
Using or building a recruitment panel to recruit participants Rules and guidance for building and using participant recruitment panels in DfE Beta
Paying incentives How to decide whether to pay incentives to DfE particpants, and how to buy them Beta

Recruiting user researchers into DfE (civil servants and contractors)

Guidance Details Status
Recruiting a user researcher for your team Rules, support and templates for planning a recruitment campaign for a civil servant UR Published
Managed service contractors and statements of work Planning for success when bringing in managed service user researchers In development

Surveys, survey tool and survey champions

Guidance Details Status
Surveys, survey tool and survey champions Rules, support and templates for planning a recruitment campaign for a civil servant UR Published

User research in the civil service

Guidance Details Status
Doing user research under the Civil Service code Constraints and considerations that you must consider while delivering research in the civil service Published
Researching in pre-election periods What you must consider when conducting research in the weeks before an election Beta

Working with a user researcher in your team

Guidance for delivery managers, and other team members working with a user researcher.

Guidance Details Status
What user researchers do Understanding what user researchers do in DfE, and what they will bring to your team Published
What user researchers need in order to work effectively Ideas for ways of working and team setups to support URs to deliver their best work Coming soon