In the research field of User Research, an emphasis is placed on the user of a specific data offering (e.g. a website or an interactive system): By using the data, the user wishes to cover a specific information requirement. Data usage also includes (in addition to the already mentioned automated analyses, see research field of data analytics) the manual evaluation and analysis of data as part of individual queries.
This research field investigates with which measures it is possible to optimally plan and implement data use as well as how its success can be evaluated. The starting point here is the observation that both organisations and individuals are being challenged owing to the rapid growth in data and need to learn how to develop an appropriate and purposeful means for dealing with this data. The challenges faced in knowledge-intensive areas (including in the fields of scientific communication, health communication and journalism) are especially demanding and are thus particularly suitable for user research. Qualitative and quantitative procedures from the area of empirical social research are used as methods in this research field (including expert interviews, focus groups, standardised surveys and observations).
This field of research does not only involve the description of usage processes, but also – from the perspective of evaluation research – the assessment of their success. Focus here is placed on planned learning processes with which the utilisation of information should be improved against the backdrop of certain values and objectives.
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