Writing a User Research Report

What is a user research report?

user research report is a document that summarizes the findings of a user research project.

It typically includes a description of the research methods, key findings, and recommendations for future action. User research reports communicate research findings to stakeholders, inform design decisions, and justify budget requests.

Purpose of a User Research Report

A user research report serves several essential purposes.

Illustration of essential purposes of user research report. Four blocks

First, it helps to communicate research findings to stakeholders in a clear and concise way. It can be crucial for getting buy-in for design decisions and ensuring everyone on the team is on the same page.

Second, a user research report communicates insights that will be used as a basis for making design decisions for your project. By understanding your users’ needs and behaviors, you can ensure that your product is designed in a way that is easy to use and meets their expectations.

Third, a user research report facilitates communications with your stakeholders and the rest of your development team. It can be used to justify budget requests. If you can show that your product is based on solid user research, it will be easier to convince stakeholders to invest in it.

Finally, it can be used to track the progress of a project over time. By comparing research findings from different points in time, you can see how your product is improving and identify areas for further improvement.

Elements of a User Research Report

A user research report typically includes the following elements:

  • Executive Summary: A brief overview of the research project, including the research goals, methods, and key findings.
  • Introduction: A more detailed description of the research project, including the background, objectives, and scope.
  • Research Methodology: A description of the research methods used, including the research questions, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques.
  • Findings: A presentation of the key findings of the research, including user needs, behaviors, and pain points.
  • Recommendations: A set of recommendations for future action based on the research findings.
  • Conclusion: A summary of the research findings and recommendations.

How to write a user research report?

A user research report should not be a document that includes an overwhelming amount of details and describes every step taken during the research study.

The report’s primary purpose is to communicate research findings to the rest of the stakeholders. The research report should include only the most relevant data.

Following these simple steps, you can create a clear, concise, informative report valuable to your stakeholders. 

1. Planning Your Report

Before you start writing your report, it’s essential to take some time to plan it out. Planning your report will ensure it is well-organized and effectively communicates your findings.

Here are a few things to consider when planning your report:

  • Define your audience. Who will be reading your report? What is their level of knowledge about user research?
  • Determine your goals. What do you want to achieve with your report? Are you trying to inform stakeholders, influence design decisions, or justify budget requests?
  • Outline your content. What are the key findings you want to share? What evidence do you have to support your findings?
  • Choose a format. Will you write a formal report, an executive summary, or a presentation?

You can draft your report once you understand your audience, goals, and content.

2. Research Goals

When writing a user research report, it’s important to state the research goals clearly. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

For example, a research goal might be to:

  • Identify the top five pain points that users experience with our product.
  • Understand the user journey for completing a specific task in our application.
  • Gather feedback on a new design prototype for our website.

Clearly state your research goals in your report. It will ensure that your report focuses on your primary objectives and that you communicate the importance of your findings to your stakeholders in a straightforward manner.

3. Methodology

The methodology section of your user research report should describe the methods you used to collect and analyze data. This section should be clear and concise and provide enough detail for readers to understand how you reached your conclusions.

Here are some of the things you should include in your methodology section:

  • Describe your research methods (e.g., surveys, interviews, usability testing).
  • Describe the data collection process (e.g., how you recruited participants and conducted interviews).
  • Include a description of the data analysis techniques you used.

It is also essential to be transparent about any limitations of your methodology. For example, if you only surveyed a small number of participants, acknowledge this and discuss how it might impact the generalizability of your findings.

By providing a clear and detailed description of your methodology, you can help your readers understand the rigor of your research and the validity of your findings.

4. Insights

The insights section of your user research report should present the key findings of your research.

This is a critical section of your research report, so you must ensure your stakeholders will not dismiss it. It is crucial to write this section clearly and concisely. Provide compelling evidence to support your findings, but do not overwhelm your audience by including too many details.

Here are some of the things you should include in your insights section:

  • A summary of the key themes that emerged from your research.
  • Quotes from participants that illustrate your findings.
  • Data visualizations (e.g., charts, graphs, diagrams) that help to communicate your findings effectively.

Focus on the most critical findings from your research and present them in a way that is easy for your readers to understand.

You should also avoid making any personal opinions or recommendations in this section. There will be space for that later in the report.

You can help your stakeholders understand your users’ needs and behaviors by presenting your insights clearly and engagingly. This understanding can then be used to make informed decisions about the design and development of your product.

5. Recommendations

The recommendations section of your user research report should provide actionable advice based on your findings. This section should provide specific and measurable recommendations that your team can implement.

Here are some of the things you should include in your recommendations section:

  • A prioritized list of specific recommendations that address your users’ needs and pain points based on the results of your research.
  • A plan for measuring the impact of your recommendations.
  • A timeline for implementing your recommendations.

Always prioritize your recommendations based on their potential impact and feasibility. Be realistic about the resources that are available to implement your recommendations.

By providing clear and actionable recommendations, you can help your stakeholders make informed decisions about improving your product. You can also use your recommendations to track progress and measure the impact of your user research.

How to present a user research report?

Consider how you will present your research findings. Sometimes, sending a report in a document format is entirely acceptable. In other cases, a formal presentation will be more appropriate.

Presenting a user research report can effectively communicate your findings to stakeholders and influence design decisions. However, you should tailor your presentation to your audience.

Here are some tips about presenting your findings to the stakeholders.

1. Be Concise

When presenting your user research report, it is crucial to be concise.

Your audience’s time is valuable, so you should only focus on the essential findings and recommendations. Avoid going into too much detail about your methodology or data analysis techniques.

  • Use clear and concise language. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your audience may not understand.
  • Focus on the most important findings. Don’t try to cover everything in your presentation. Pick out the most critical findings and focus on those.
  • Use visuals to communicate your findings. Charts, graphs, and diagrams can be a great way to share complex information in a concise way.

2. Use Plain Language

When presenting your user research report, using plain language that is easy for your audience to understand is crucial. Avoid jargon, technical terms, and overly complex sentence structures.

Instead, opt for simple, straightforward language accessible to a wider audience.

Here are some tips for using plain language in your presentation:

  • Keep the tone conversational. Avoid using specialized terminology or jargon that your audience may not be familiar with.
  • Keep sentences short and to the point. Long, convoluted sentences can be challenging to follow and may cause your audience to lose focus.
  • Use active voice whenever possible. Active voice makes your sentences more direct and engaging.
  • Use clear and concise transitions. Transitions help your audience follow the flow of your presentation and make it easier for them to understand how your points are connected.
  • Use examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points. Examples and anecdotes can help your audience connect with your findings and make them more relatable.

3. Create a Narrative

Incorporating a narrative into your user research presentation can make it more engaging and memorable for your audience. By framing your findings as a story, you can help your listeners connect with the research on a personal level and understand its impact on real people.

Here are some tips for creating a narrative in your presentation:

  • Start with a compelling introduction that captures your audience’s attention.
  • Introduce your research participants as characters in your story.
  • Highlight key findings and recommendations as turning points in the narrative.
  • Use quotes from your participants or clips from the interview recordings if possible.
  • Conclude with a call to action that encourages your audience to take action based on your research.

By weaving a narrative into your presentation, you can transform your user research findings from dry data points into a compelling story that resonates with your audience and inspires action.

4. Allow Pauses

People giving presentations tend to speak too fast. The reason might be nervousness or eagerness to convey all the information they’ve gathered. To help with that, incorporate strategic pauses into your delivery. These pauses serve several crucial purposes:

  1. Emphasis: Pausing after key points allows your audience to absorb and internalize the information, emphasizing its importance.
  2. Transition: Pausing between sections of your presentation provides a clear transition, signaling a shift in topic and allowing your audience to prepare for the next segment.
  3. Engagement: Pausing during storytelling moments gives your audience time to connect with the narrative and empathize with the characters, enhancing their engagement with the presentation.
  4. Questioning: Strategically placed pauses can encourage your audience to reflect on the information presented, prompting them to ask questions and seek clarification.
  5. Absorption: Pausing after complex data visualizations grants your audience time to process the information and make connections between the visuals and the overall findings.

Consider pauses not as dead air but rather as tools for effective communication. Pauses can enhance comprehension of your presentation, engagement, and the overall impact of your message.

Additional tips for presenting a user research report

Include quotes

Incorporating quotes from actual research participants can add a personal touch to your presentation and make your findings more relatable. When selecting quotes, choose those that are insightful, representative and illustrate key points from your research.

Make it visually pleasing

Visuals can enhance the understanding and impact of your presentation. This is especially true when you are presenting quantitative data. Use charts, graphs, diagrams, and images to illustrate data, highlight trends, and make your findings more digestible. However, avoid cluttering your slides with too many visuals; ensure each element serves a clear purpose.

Prepare for questions

After presenting your findings, be prepared to answer questions from your audience. Anticipate common questions and prepare clear and concise responses. Additionally, have a copy of your report available for those who want more in-depth information.

Tailor your presentation to your audience: Consider their level of knowledge about user research and focus on the information that will be most relevant to them.

Practice your presentation: Rehearse to ensure a smooth and confident delivery. Consider the pauses mentioned earlier – try to plan where to incorporate them and practice them. 

Giving a presentation may be stressful for some. However, by preparing in advance, you can feel more confident. Following these tips can create an informative, engaging, and persuasive user research presentation.


In conclusion, a user research report is essential for communicating user research findings to stakeholders.

By following the tips outlined in this article, you can create a user research report that is clear, concise, and informative. Additionally, by tailoring your presentation to your audience and using visuals effectively, you can create an engaging and persuasive presentation.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your user research has a meaningful impact on the design and development of your product.

Further reading

Writing a user research report: tips and template slides by Decoding Research