Blended research

Some projects require a combination of research methods to achieve relevant and effective results. This can involve virtually any combination of methodologies, from diary studies (paper or digital) to interviews and data gathered with wearables. STBY will help you choose the right blend of methods and approaches, depending on the phase a project is in and the questions you have.

Combined qualitative and quantitative research

A combination of qualitative and quantitative research can support a business case with ‘hard’ evidence in the form of numbers and statistics, while also providing rich and empathic illustrations of the user experience in everyday life. We have experience with two mixed-method research designs: exploratory and explanatory sequential design. Exploratory sequential design involves first collecting qualitative exploratory data and using this information to guide further, larger-scale quantitative enquiry (e.g. surveys or auto-ethnography). Explanatory sequential design helps to explore quantitative findings. Here, quantitative data is used as the starting point. We then gather and use qualitative data to explain the quantitative data in more detail. Often these approaches are strung together in a series of phases.

Longitudinal and diary studies

Longitudinal studies engage research participants in different interactions over time to build a firm understanding of potential changes in people’s behaviour and preferences. Some research questions are just too difficult to investigate through only one interaction. They may require data which takes time to collect, or it may be necessary to give participants more time to gain experience and reflect on a topic, so they are better prepared to provide insights during follow-up activities. Another reason to undertake longitudinal studies is to study change over time, for example, to see whether users’ initial response to a new service is sustained, or changes.

Agile collaboration

Because they are often complex and experimental, and carried out over an extended period of time, blended research projects require a special kind of agile collaboration. Together with our core client team, we provide answers to different stakeholders at different times during the process, depending on their roles and needs. In practice, this means finding the right balance between ongoing quick iterations and more long term investigation of overarching themes, so all valuable insights will be used when needed . We build in very regular update meetings to align the ongoing work through progressively informed conversations. It also means being continually ready to share and discuss unfinished work, and benefit from this exposure, while actively managing expectations.


Dynamic boarding at Dutch railway stations

STBY was one of the leading agencies, together with Edenspiekermann, in the award-winning development and testing of new dynamic boarding technology that is creating a major service improvement to the Dutch railway system. A combination of online questionnaires and interviews was used, to gather quantitative and qualitative insights, respectively.

Sharing research assets, fast and slow

Working with Google on a series of collaborations using design research to support the creation of new services, we’ve co-developed a valuable approach for how research assets can best be shared and deployed to meet the urgent needs posed by a fast-paced agile process, while also capturing and structuring results to create value for the longer term.

Understanding people’s perception of food in relation to health and sustainability

STBY was commissioned by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment to help them better understand people’s perception of food in relation to health and sustainability, in order to improve their advice on these topics.

Conversations on a circular economy

The province of Noord Brabant asked STBY to discuss ideas for a more circular future with visitors of the Dutch Design Week of 2015. We built a future scenario and invited people to literally step into it. For one day, we opened a pop-up shop where visitors could lease, instead of buy things.

Deep Dive Ethnography

Deep dive ethnography is a way of using structured interactions to gain empathic insights about the people you’re designing for, often while sharing their experiences…

Co-creation labs

Co-creation labs typically involve hands-on activities in which a varied group of stakeholders expresses experiences and explorers potential solutions in a …

Global explorations

Much of our work on international design research projects is in locations other than the UK and the Netherlands, where our offices are located. Supporting global…

Strategic Pilots

Design research offers organisations an experimental, open approach to strategy development. A pilot project is an effective way to start figuring out what an …

Training and coaching

We help clients learn about service design and design research in different ways, depending on the needs and context of the learners. These range from senior-level…