I work at a very small, very scrappy software company as the only UX Researcher. There is such a huge need for information and a very fast pace of product development, so the easiest thing to do is rolling rounds of research with 6-8 users every month, plus a satisfaction survey sent to a random sample of users every month. So far it has been working quite well, given the team had no user research at all, but I'm worried about other valuable insights I might be missing if I only do IDIs and this survey. We do have a data team with more resources who run site metrics, as well as developers that do A/B testing, so my realm is mostly qualitative.

I am fairly new to UX Research, and I know there are fancy things like diary studies, personas, user journeys, etc, which all sound lovely but also time consuming. My question is, how dangerous is it (for product development and user empathy / understanding) to NOT make time for these other methods?

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You have to choose methods that are most appropriate for the business requirements (i.e. products and services), technology and the users (number of users, access to them, demographics, etc.).

While there is no method that is one-size-fits all, generally it is considered best to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to find out both the WHAT (overall trends and patterns) and WHY (underlying causes).

The actual risk of only using specific methods is that every technique has its pros and cons, so if you are only using certain methods then your results are limited to what those techniques can provide. Hence it is generally considered better to use a combination of techniques that are appropriate for your project.

As you say, having data is better than no data at all, except when the effort that goes into managing and analyzing the data doesn't produce the results or insights that you are looking for. Then in that case you are simply creating 'research debt' that will cost you more than what you invested in.

I would say that you need to test and see what the quality of your results are like and then review what changes or improvements can be made before going further.

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