User research standards and principles
How we deliver user research in DfE, and the standards you must meet.
Our user research standards
We are introducing a set of standards so that you know what is expected of you as you do your work. You must meet these standards in your work.
We aim to have all of our standards published by April 2024.
|Participant safeguarding in user research
|Personal data handling in user research
|User research planning
|Keeping safe during user research
|Inclusive user research
Assuring against our standards
We take a 'self assurance first' approach. Each standard includes a checklist of what you need to do. You must ensure you always meet all the requirements.
Sometimes your work may be reviewed by a senior or lead user researcher, so make sure you keep records, and are ready to demonstrate how you've met each standard in your research.
Help and advice
Each of our standards and principles includes links to guidance content and sources of help.
You can always ask for advice from:
- The lead user researcher in your portfolio, or the head of user research
- Ethics Advisory Group in Slack (opens in a new tab)
- The user research community in Slack (opens in a new tab)
The Service Standard
As well as our DfE user research standards, your work must always also meet the government Service Standard. This is the case whether or not your team will go through service assessments.
Visit our Apply the Service Standard in DfE manual
Our principles for good user research
We include all of our users, and bring them to the heart of the department’s work
We are objective and use evidence
We do high quality, safe and ethical research
We are adaptable and collaborative, and focus our research in the right places
We learn as a community and by ourselves
We celebrate our work, and help others understand what we do
Why we have standards and principles
We want DfE to be the best place in government to be a user researcher, and our research to always have genuine impact for our users.
Our user research standards help us all meet acceptable levels of quality, ethics and safety in our work.
Our principles help us understand what 'best practice' looks like, helping us deliver the highest quality work in the best possible way, developing our careers and the overall user research capability in the department while we do it.
With a couple of exceptions where we need to meet specific departmental processes, our standards and principles aren't intended to tell you how you should work. You and your team should develop ways of working that work for you, and that deliver high quality, safe and ethical user research.
How we developed them
Our standards and principles are owned, written and kept updated by user researchers across our DfE user research community. The head of user research is responsible for ensuring we have a set of professional standards, and this is part of DfE's Digital Data Technology strategy (DfE intranet).