W3: Define

Asking Right Questions

Reasonable and easy it may sound, but it cannot be emphasized enough in any kinds of research to ask right questions since a small delicacy of a question might be leading, leaving a great bias in the result of the study. Here are some tips when you design research questions.

  • Don’t
    • Double-barreled questions
    • Leading questions
      ex) How much design thinking will you use? (X) → Do you think you will use design thinking? (O)
    • Questions full of jargons
  • Be aware of
    • Motivated reasoning
    • Demand characteristic (when respondents answer according to the researcher’s intention)

Step 2: Define

As a continuation of our design thinking process, the second step is to define. I personally think that this is the extended version of the ’empathizing’ and the related activities we have done last week. (For more information, please refer to Week 2. Empathize) It will be the best if we can intuitively figure out some meaningful implications from the previous activities, but even if not, “How-might-we (HMW)” is a good method when we would like to draw out some implications. Through HMW process, our team paid attention to the fact that the ‘weak career development office’ in the school can be both bud and thorn and set it as our topic. Here are some rules for HMW.

  • Avoid having a statement that is too broad or too narrow
  • Remember to remain human/ user/ stakeholder-centered
  • Start with insights (things that you realize about the stakeholder that the stakeholder probably doesn’t)


Design Leadership by Sharon Kim
Johns Hopkins Carey Business School


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