Ruth Ellison

Principal User Experience Consultant at PwC's Experience Centre / Canberra, Australia

THE RESEARCHER’S BLIND SPOT:
6 COGNITIVE BIASES WE SHOULDN’T IGNORE IN RESEARCH





There are cognitive biases lurking everywhere in the research process. Cognitive biases are psychological tendencies that cause the human brain to draw incorrect conclusions.

We all want our research to provide reliable input into our projects and most of us wouldn’t deliberately distort data. Yet, we’re human, and we’re all susceptible to many cognitive biases that can affect the outcomes at any stage of our projects. Bias is unavoidable, but being a good researcher is about understanding our inherent biases and how we can minimise the effects. Distorted or misleading results can be very detrimental to a project. It can misinform the direction of a project, or provide false confidence about decisions.

In this session I will highlight six common cognitive biases in research, from recruitment, to the actual sessions, and the analysis and reporting of research findings. This will be illustrated with examples and stories, along with how we can minimize the bias.

Ruth Ellison is an experienced qualitative UX researcher, with over 14 years in the design field. She’s a Principal UX Designer at PwC’s Experience Centre and she’s fascinated about why humans do stuff. She has conducted many research pieces, both big and small, and has loved every one of them.