Comprises multiple methods for gaining insight into user needs and behaviours from real end users.
User Research comprises multiple methods for gaining insight into user needs and behaviours from real end users. This can be applied either through direct contact with the users that involve face-to-face (in person or online) interactions or indirect contact such as surveys and reviewing analytics data. Examples of these methods are contextual research and user testing.
User research is a reality check. It tells you what really happens when people use computers. You can speculate on what customers want, or you can find out... Research offers an understanding of how users behave online, and is a solid foundation on which to build a design. (Jakob Nielsen)