Foundational research, sometimes called generative research, is a type of user experience research that aims to answer broad, fundamental questions about the needs, motivations, and behaviors of the people using a product or service. This research often involves in-depth interviews and other qualitative methods to gather detailed insights into the experiences and perspectives of users. Some common questions that foundational research might aim to answer include:

  • What are the primary goals and needs of users when they interact with the product or service?
  • What are the key pain points or challenges that users face when using the product or service?
  • How do users currently accomplish their goals with the product or service, and what are their typical workflows and behaviors?
  • What are the underlying values, attitudes, and beliefs that drive users’ behavior and decision-making?

The goal of foundational research is to provide a deep understanding of users and their needs, which can inform the design and development of a product or service. This type of research is typically carried out at the beginning of a design process and can help to guide the development of a user-centered product or service.