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In case you want to use this book for teaching, wonder about choices in style or content or want to contribute to it or suggest changes, this page may be useful to understand the choices I made when creating it.


Goals: Enable people to do applied qualitative research on how and why people work, so that one can design of products accordingly.

Non-goals: Describing quantitative Methods (though I love to use them, too). Be tied to a certain sub-school of design or product development methods: JTBD, Design Thinking…

Learning and Teaching considerations

  • I gravitate towards Examples rather than definitions (which can be useful as well as obscuring, as explained by Popper).
  • Writing style:
    • Personal: “I” when talking about experiences and suggestions, “you” to address the reader.
    • Simple style: Mostly active forms, frequent words favored over unusual terms (see Orwell’s Six Rules of writing )
  • I embrace personal, from-experience input. However, I try not to argue from the perspective of authority but try to make it easy to understand why I would choose a certain approach.


  • I want to avoid appeals to true or right -findings,-needs etc.: I do not think that something like “needs“ can be “found” (or “uncovered”) like a physicial thing and objectively defined as “true”. Instead, they are constructed, though not in an arbitrary way, but based on observations and interpretation. Rather than findings being right I would stress their plausibility and the possibility to develop the understanding further. (Philosophically, the mode is thus pragmatism, rather than positivism )
  • Results should be traceable and plausible. Thus, a significant part of the text focuses on data analysis.
  • The research methods are related to symbolic interactionism and Grounded Theory. However, they are an influence rather than a foundation I 100% adhere to.
  • This book assumes Reflective Practice as the mode of work.