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Method

Interviews with subject matter experts to learn about a topic.

Purpose

  • To learn about an unfamiliar topic or subject area.
  • To collect ideas from people familiar with challenges in a particular area.

What you get

  • Insights into a problem space or topic area.
  • Feedback on specific aspects of your project or plan.
  • Recommendations on who else to engage about your project. 

Strengths

  • Provides fast understanding of a specialist domain.
  • Can help reveal the 'unknown unknowns' around a project or plan.
  • Provides an overview of the issues or opportunities that may be discovered through other research. 

Weaknesses

  • Should not be considered a replacement for community engagement or other discovery research.
  • What experts think are issues or opportunities are not always  what citizens want, need or expect.
  • Experts can find it difficult to imagine solutions that are outside of their area of expertise, and so.

Tips

Ensure you include government and non-government experts in your research. Speaking to them before further research can help inform a research approach. Speaking to them after other research can help validate your understanding. 

Tools and resources

Reviewed 17 February 2021

Human-centred design playbook

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