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The ReOps Research Skills Project

The ResearchOps Community are people interested in making the work of research work. This is one part of that effort: taking a look at what it is that researchers really do, where the challenges are, and how they'd like to push their practice forward.

It's a workshop developed by researchers, for researchers, along with some of the resulting data from our workshops, in attempt to help connect our local research communities and start a thread of meaningful research-focused conversations.

We are building the final framework itself. That will be updated here, and you can follow updates from the community and our project leads on twitter:

0. Data & links

  • RSF_Data • google sheets, tagged data & summary statistics from 2019 workshop series
  • Framework Benchmark • github page, a set of some of the frameworks we evaluated early in this project (propietary / private in-house frameworks sent to us are not listed here)
  • Project Story Presentation • PDF in Google Drive, slides from Tomomi & Dave speaking about project process at Interaction 20

1. "Workshop in a box" package:

2. Materials in repo:

3. Archive—Materials from the 2019 Global Workshop Series

alt text

4. Organizer timeline & expectations:

We're sponsoring workshops April through June of 2019. We're working with local community leaders to host these workshops in their cities/towns/regions. Here's how to get involved and run a workshop:

First steps to becoming an organizer:

  1. Whenever you like: fill out the call for organizers form
  2. We onboard qualified organizers and you'll join a short video call to review materials & expectations

1-6 weeks before the workshop:

  1. Recruit any local co-organizers or facilitators you may need
  2. Identify a venue and tentative date
  3. Add your city, date, and location to the workshop event listing
  4. Set up an event page to track recruits: we recommend eventbrite, and some language you can use is below in Description & outreach language
  5. Begin recruiting—
  • smaller cities & workshops: we recommend a snowball recruit method, start with immediate network and expand until you've reached capacity
  • larger cities & workshops: snowball is a good start, and we can recommend some good places to recruit for your city, as well as provide a signal boost
  1. Optionally, plan out any food/drink logistics with your venue and co-organizers

1 week before the workshop:

  1. Verify time and date with your location; double-check A/V situation for presenting
  2. Print out participant workbooks for each participant
  3. Review this page and the Workshop Guide Deck in case there are any changes

1 day before the workshop:

  1. Double-check attendee list and recruit status
  2. Optionally, send reminders to attendees using some of the language below
  3. Gather all your materials: workbook, scratch paper, extra pens/sharpies for participants
  4. Check your tech: laptop for presenting, internet-in-venue, power supply for laptop if needed
  5. Ask the team / other oganizers about any remaining questions & concerns

Day of the workshop:

  1. Always leave early to get there :)
  2. Set up venue: tables of 5-6 will be great; discussions will happen in 2's or 3's, table wide, and workshop-wide
  3. Prep the guide-deck presentation / projection
  4. Welcome folks as they come in, give them a workbook, ask them to fill out 1st page form as they settle in
  5. Run the workshop! Make sure attendees leave top 2 pages from worksheets
  6. Gather everything and clean up / close-down the venue
  7. Take a break—how was it? Thank you for all the work so far!!

Day after the workshop:

  1. Send data back to the Community: you'll record each participant's summary form into a digital data-intake form
  • we expect this to add 2-4 minutes of work per-participant: it's work, but we'd like to keep technology & devices out of the workshop for its entirety
  1. Send a follow-up email to your participants for personal feedback and with the global feedback form
  2. Let us know how you'd like to stay involved

5. Outreach / event language:

Basic event description:

The Researcher Skills workshop is coming to (city). We're bringing together groups of researchers who are interested in reflecting on their craft, learning, and growing. In this 2-hour workshop, we discuss specific challenges in doing the work, map out past project experience, and evaluate skills and career progression with tools developed by the ResearchOps Community.

It's also an opportunity for us to give back. We'll collect some of the workshop output data and send it back to the ResearchOps community. They'll clean up and open-source all of the researcher skills data, and gather a project team together to publish a well-informed skills framework that researchers everywhere can use as a guide for growth and career progression.

The workshop is open to anyone with hands-on experience doing research. Participants without professional research experience will be unable to complete some of the activities and have a hard time getting into the materials, which start by reflecting on specific working experiences, and creating productive discussion about the work.

More details for participants:

Show up a few minutes early to get settled in. The workshop is hands-on, with a mix of discussion, activities, and personal worksheets. The workshop itself will last 2 to 2.5 hours, and you'll be joining a mix of in-house researchers, consulting researchers, and designers who do research as you go.

Bring a pen & pencil, and your favorite colored markers if you like. Your organizer will provide scratch paper for the activities, and printed worksheets for the more structured exercises.

Post-workshop feedback email:

We'll recommend bcc'ing everyone for the final outreach. All language is a suggested starting point: use what's good, edit as appropriate.

Dear workshoppers,

Thank you so much for joining us at the #researcherskills workshop yesterday.

First off, I hope you had a great time and were able to connect with new people, it's how we'll keep our community and our practice growing. If you have any direct feedback on what else we can do, or workshop facilitation, please feel free to send that directly to me. And please take a couple moments to send your feedback to the team that created this workshop:

The ResearchOps Community will aggregate, clean up, and publish open-sourced data from all the workshops around the world. If you'd like to get involved there, check out You can also find all of the materials from the workshop as open-source resources on github: (And you'll see data published here as it's ready.)

Ultimately, our work will also inform a larger effort to produce a skills framework for researchers that helps us learn and grow. Thank you for your time and involvement in making it happen.

(signoff, name, etc.)

Requirement check:

If you have lots of signups and we didn't vet for experience ahead of time, here's an email you could send to your participants.

Title: Skills workshop—research experience requirement check

Hey crew,

You are all signed up for our Researcher Skills Workshop. We want to provide the best workshop experience for everyone who's there. To do that, we need to make sure that each of our participants have real, professional research experience—we're recommending everyone who attends has > 3 months in the role of a researcher, or has worked on > 3 research projects from a related role.

I'm sorry this wasn't entirely clear up front; the workshop won't actually review methods or teach or train anyone how to do research. Rather, this is a chance for people with research experience to gather, reflect, and discuss the specific challenges and success they've had in doing the work. Folks without experience will get limited value from the >workshop, and have a hard time contributing in the discussions.

If you don't have the recommended experience and are already registered, please let me know, and we can re-open your slot for researcher-participants on the waitlist. I appreciate your honest humility.

If you're correctly registered, no action required.

(signoff, name, etc.)

All of these materials are offered freely under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.


Data, graphics, and insights from the ReOps "Research Skills Framework" project. Also includes workshop package and guide materials from the 2019 Workshop Series.



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