Role profile: user researcher

User researchers scope, design and run research activities with users. These activities help teams get a deep understanding of the people that use a service.

A user researcher works in a multi-disciplinary team and is responsible for planning and running user research activities. They can work independently on a variety of projects that need analytical thinking and practical coding or programming skills to produce insights on users of services.

The suggested role profile for a user researcher aligns to the Digital, Data and Technology Capability Framework. But this role profile gives details of other analytical skills that are needed to succeed in this role.

Typical role responsibilities

User researchers:

  • are responsible for planning and doing user research activities
  • analyse the characteristics and behaviour of a wide variety of users to influence the design of services – this can involve large numbers of users and a range of data systems
  • use analytical thinking to identify opportunities for analysis
  • select the most appropriate analysis techniques to support evidence-based decision making

Skills

There are several important skills that user researchers need to be successful in their role.

You must be able to think analytically and statistically to identify opportunities for analysis. You must also be able to select the most appropriate analysis techniques to support evidence-based decision making.

You will be expected to demonstrate these skills at different levels depending on the seniority of your role.

Associate user researcher

As an associate user researcher, you must demonstrate an ‘awareness’ skill level.

User researcher

As a user researcher, you must demonstrate a ‘practitioner’ skill level.

Senior user researcher

As a senior user researcher, you must demonstrate an ‘expert’ skill level.

Lead user researcher

As a lead user researcher, you must demonstrate an ‘expert’ skill level.

You must have strong verbal and written communication skills to share insights effectively with stakeholders.

You will be expected to demonstrate these skills at different levels depending on the seniority of your role.

Associate user researcher

As an associate user researcher, you must demonstrate an ‘awareness’ skill level.

User researcher

As a user researcher, you must demonstrate a ‘practitioner’ skill level.

Senior user researcher

As a senior user researcher, you must demonstrate an ‘expert’ skill level.

Lead user researcher

As a lead user researcher, you must demonstrate an ‘expert’ skill level.

Sample career path

The user researcher career path shows some of the common entry and exit points for the role. It also shows the typical skill levels needed. It also aligns to the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Capability Framework.

You can enter a user researcher role from another analytical profession or other professions, such as the DDaT profession. You can also exit the role to join another profession.

The diagram shows a potential career path. It shows that you can enter or leave a role from a wide range of backgrounds and experience levels. For example, you could become a user researcher by developing your skills in a junior user researcher role. You could continue to move up the levels in the career path by taking on more senior user researcher roles. Or you could develop your skills by working in a technical specialist role in an analytical or digital profession. You could also develop the necessary skills by working in a profession agnostic role outside of these professions.

A role that could be done by any person with the relevant skills or experience from any profession.

This could be a ‘badged’ or professional role that is subject to entry requirements and development.

Beyond the lead user researcher role, you could go into more senior leadership roles. These roles require broader analytical understanding, and the ability to lead multi-disciplinary teams.