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Cognitive Bias

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How data is analyzed

Biases can make their way into research, either on the part of the participant, for instance, when offering responses to interview questions, or on the part of the researcher when analyzing the data gathered.

Here are some example biases:

  • Functional fixedness is the inability to realize that something known to have a particular use may also be used to perform other functions.
  • A lack of foresight or imagination on the part of an interviewee may mean that there are opportunities for innovation missed.
  • The Illusion of Validity is a situation where a researcher over estimates their ability to accurately interpret a set of data. In particular, when the data analyzed suggests a very consistent pattern. That is, when the data tells a coherent story. Put simply, research is interpreted as fitting in with a predetermined narrative, simply backing up what was already believed.
  • The Von Restorff Effect suggests that things that stand out from the others are more likely to be remembered. This might affect, for instance, focus groups, where a particularly vocal member of the group can make their opinions more strongly made than other members.
  • Information bias is the incorrect belief that more information, even irrelevant information, must always be acquired before making a decision. This can be countered with a coherent learning plan.
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Rick Monro

Rick Monro is UX Director at Fathom. He has extensive experience in user research, interaction design, user-centered design, and design strategy with private and public sector organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Appraise practices for planning UX research
  • Critically evaluate the roles of innovation and users in User Experience (UX) research
  • Evaluate cognitive biases that can affect research data

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    If you are interested in learning about the principles of UX and the tools or techniques that you can use to develop and refine your user's experience, DMI has produced a short course on the subject for all of our students. You can access this content here:

    DMI Short Course: UX Essentials

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      UX Research
      Rick Monro
      Skills Expert

      With the help of Rick Monro, you will develop the knowledge and skills to build highly effective user experiences. You will learn how to think like a user in order to understand their priorities and needs, and you will recognize the role of various research and analytics techniques such as tree-testing, card-sorting, user-testing, user-surveys, Google Analytics and specialized tools such as Click-tale.