A Comprehensive Guide to Generative Research

A Comprehensive Guide to Generative Research

Every business aims to know its customers better to offer them the best. You can only create solutions and products if you understand your audience’s wants. Research is one of the best solutions, specifically generative research, to reach that understanding.

It is broader research and goes towards understanding your users more strategically. Let’s know everything about it in this article.

What is Generative Research?

There are many names such as problem-space research, in-depth interviews, discovery research, foundational research, customer interview, and much more for this research. Irrespective of the term, this research’s purpose is the same – to know your customer better.

As the name suggests, this research is to generate an understanding of your customers and their world. This research helps identify your customers as humans beyond product usage to know what happens in their daily lives.

By understanding how their world revolves and what they do, businesses can invest wisely in designing products that cater to their needs. 

What is the Importance of Generative Research?

The one area in which most companies make a mistake is assuming that the customer runs behind the product; therefore, they design it without keeping their customer in mind. Whereas in reality, it is the opposite. Your product will only survive if the customer wants it. Therefore, concentrate on product design while keeping your buyer in mind.

You will realize which feature they like the most in the product and which is just an add-on. 

Generative research identifies avenues for growth, new products or services, and improvement opportunities by thoroughly knowing users and their environments. It allows researchers to identify market gaps or where current solutions fall short. 

Using generative research, potential dangers and problems can be found early in development. Researchers can reduce the risks associated with poor user adoption, usability concerns, or market acceptance by knowing users’ demands, pain points, and wants.

Once you know the answers to such and many more questions, you can design a product that is user-centric instead of product-centric and can help them more than they could have imagined.

However, acquiring this knowledge requires engaging in generative research. This research lets the customers tell about themselves beyond the product or the service. It can help you with information related to your customer’s motivation, plans, goals, ambitions, and behaviors. And this information will help you design the product of your dreams.

The Value of Generative Research

Generative Research helps tell why people do what they are doing and what they think right now. As a company, we only think about our product and not anything beyond it. With the help of this research, companies can think about more than just their product.

They will start to look at finding a solution to the main problem. You can choose the interview method to understand your customers’ thoughts. You may get to know what the users are doing on your page with the help of quantitative data, but what they think will not be possible with this data.

Therefore, you must indulge in qualitative research, part of generative research. The following are a few improvements that could result from this research:

  • You can better prioritize your work.
  • You will be more confident when you decide on the new feature.
  • You can empathize with your audience better.
  • You can build a vision or a roadmap for your product.

The best part about this research is you can do it anytime, and it is not limited to a design or development phase.

Getting a Buy-in for Generative Research

Only some companies agree to go for this research since the output or the returns are not guaranteed. So, as a research expert, the question is how to convince your seniors to go for this research. The simple answer is to let them participate in the research first.

You ask your customers multiple questions during the interview; you can do the same to your seniors, especially stakeholders, and get their responses. Consider it as your first step toward the research program.

What are the Common Questions in Generative Research?

If you’re curious about some possible research questions, have a look at these examples:

  1. Why do you feel negative about the product?
  2. What happened last time when you participated in a study or survey?
  3. What does your ideal day look like?
  4. What would you alter if you could only change one thing?
  5. What are some possible results you want to see from this service?

How to Create Your Research Plan?

Before you start any research, you must make a plan that everyone on the team will follow. The plan will ensure you are on the right track and not losing momentum. Let’s look at some of the considerations you should make before starting your research:

  1. Identify the reason why the research is to be conducted.
  2. Determine and define the research objective and what your company wants to learn.
  3. List down the participants or the customers involved in the research program. Also, figure out on what basis they are chosen.
  4. Decide on the research method – an interview, survey, or anything else.
  5. Create a cheat sheet, a guideline, or a sheet of instructions during the research program. It could have the questions to be asked and how to start and end the research.
  6. Define the research program’s complete timeline- from the beginning to the end date.
  7. Most importantly, keep everything documented.


Generative research is challenging but one of the most crucial for any company or product. As a business, you should practice it enough to ensure you succeed in the research and get the desired output.  

Understanding how to use this effective tool will enable you to discover the critical insights required to create your clients’ desired products. Your focus should be on finding real solutions to the problems, and one of the best ways of doing it is through conducting surveys. You can use methods such as field studies or user interviews. 

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