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How to Clarify Your Research Learning Objectives: A Tool for Transparency and Alignment


How to Clarify Your Research Learning Objectives: A Tool for Transparency and Alignment

In many organizations, the qualitative research process comes together fairly predictably: stakeholders approach researchers with knowledge gaps and qualitative researchers face challenges of resource scarcity (no time, budget or skill to address the described knowledge gaps).

The result of many research studies is a rushed implementation that fails to address the actual objectives. Knowledge gaps remain, and designs are built on assumptions. In short, the designs suffer.

What if we began understanding research and knowledge gaps with an aligned perspective? What if research studies are organized, and positioned in a way that always begins with an understanding of the human story, and the effort it takes to collect it? Positioning research as a strategic tool enables teams to ensure that we learn from people first before applying knowledge to products. Knowledge gaps are addressed in order, and in a way that creates confidence that the human story has been integrated.

twig+fish will lead you through a workshop that transparently describes research effort, ensuring that you are studying what was intended to be studied. Using the twig+fish NCredible Framework as a shared canvas for stakeholders to share objectives, researchers can better describe how studies can be designed credibly and in a way that fully addresses the objectives.

The framework also helps to reveal a clear research roadmap, in a way that promotes priority across objectives. The visual nature of the framework externalizes a credible research process and facilitates easy communication of variables that affect study design.

What we will cover

As facilitators, we will provide you with talking points to uncover stakeholder objectives, so that you are ready to begin your research study fully aligned on all knowledge gaps.

You will be introduced to the twig+fish Five-Phase Learning Process, the language used to describe our process, and specifically Phase 1, to align the team using the Framework. Objectives start with questions. You will be given sample questions and will use the framework to plot questions in a way that reveals intent, assumptions, and existing knowledge.

After affinitizing questions, we will form objectives and discuss ways to design a study that balances an ideal approach with realistic constraints. We improve your likelihood to design credible and successful research studies when democratizing the research process.

After completing this workshop, you will be able to:

  • facilitate conversation to understand team knowledge sources and the confidence associated with those sources
  • deconstruct stakeholder questions in order to reveal assumptions
  • prioritize questions to define a research roadmap
  • more persuasively describe the effort involved in designing your research studies
  • create moments of reflection for strengthening the existing research process
  • collaborate more confidently with your team’s stakeholders in creating efficient, organized research plans for the future

Outline of this training

This online workshop consists of a 4-hour session, and inclusion of a case study to demonstrate the use of the NCredible Framework.

  • Introduction
    (research challenges + mindset)
  • Reflection
    (challenge assumptions and measure confidence in existing knowledge)
  • Roadmap
    (generate questions and plot using the NCredible Framework)
  • Study Design Considerations
    (ideal vs. constrained approaches)


  • Meena Kothandaraman

With over 30 years of experience, Meena has consulted to emphasize the strategic value and positioning of qualitative research in the design of product, space and service. Meena is fascinated by the complexity of human behavior, and applies a credible, structured and transparent approach to integrating human stories and anecdotes into mainstream processes. Meena’s experience spans multiple verticals, with companies around the world who believe in the value of qualitative research.

Meena is a founding member of twig+fish, a research and strategy practice based in Boston, MA

Apart from her core consulting practice, she has been a key contributor to and Lecturer for the Bentley University Human Factors and Information Design (HFID) graduate program for 20 years.

She holds an M.S. in Information Resources Management from Syracuse University and a B.Com. in MIS from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Meena’s other passions include performing as a South-Indian Classical Violinist, pursuing culinary arts, and learning from her two children!

What participants are saying about this training

Meena is a very engaging speaker, was able to answer a great deal of the questions we had and brought a very strong message.

Participant 1

I loved that we were able to do activities that solidified the learnings and interact with each other by talking through our thoughts. it really helped me understand how to take these learnings and apply them in my workplace.

Participant 1

Meena and Zarla are incredibly friendly and welcoming which made it feel like a safe space to ask questions and fully immerse and explore the ideas.

Participant 2

Practical information

  • Workshop in English
  • Online course (runtime 4 hours, with breaks)
  • This training uses Zoom and Miro (no account or knowledge of Miro is required)
  • Price €250,- (per participant, ex VAT)
  • Course uses Zoom
  • Group size 6 – 10 participants
  • Mix of quick lecture and heavy emphasis on application and group work

Practical info

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (9.7/10)
  • 6-10 participants
  • Via Zoom
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