While working on project 1, I had a few questions about how to to complete usability studies. I sent an email asking/commenting the following:
"In your usability studies, how do you get the subjects to take the interview, survey, etc as serious as you do? Most people who take surveys fill it out without much thought. One time I created a survey to determine if a particular tool was useful; it seemed as if the participants just went through the motions, especially if the questions only required them to select from a list (i.e. agree..strongly agree). Is there a certain method of questioning or interviewing that is more effective for getting honest answers or well thought out answers?"
The response to my email was to do the following:
1. Build rapport with the people you are interviewing. Make sure they feel like their opinions are valued and put them at ease so they feel they can be completely honest.
2. Wording of questions is critical. Make sure you ask really open ended questions without leading.
I did some browsing around also and what I found in a document that someone posted on the web was helpful in providing more insight as well as confirming the email response. The author of the document posted on the web gave some do's and don'ts of usuability study design. For example, give the participant an options to end the study if they feel uncomfortable. Make sure the user understand that there is no right or wrong answer. Also, have them sign a form explaining that he results are anonymous; this helps them feel that they can be honest in their answers. The author also gave techniques on what to do during the study as far as what to watch for. For example, be sure to note non-verbal communication. Some advice on the types of questions were to give open ended questions as well as task oriented questions.
The author also gave pointers on when to perform usability studies, the best person to conduct the study, etc.