Creating Impact through User-Centered Research
User-centered methodology is often seen in usability studies but can make research within the field of rhetoric more impactful, regardless of the research methods being used. Scholars such as Stuart Blythe and Michael Salvo argue for user-centered design to be integrated into all steps of the research process to suit the needs of audiences and users better. This paper considers how user-centered methodology can be integrated into all stages of professional writing research. By analyzing the user-centered methodology of a two-year-long undergraduate thesis study on the rhetoric of online sexual violence prevention courses for university students, one can better understand how to integrate the feedback and needs of the users into all aspects of undergraduate rhetoric studies. The paper reflects on how user-centered research was integrated into the four research methods in the sexual violence prevention research project (interviews, usability studies, rhetorical analysis, and comparative analysis) and draws on studies with a user-centered focus and methodological reflections from established scholars in the field. Integrating user-centered methodology into all stages of professional writing research better suits the audience’s needs, especially in social justice research, where a goal is to provide findings that could create a more equitable society. Researchers ought to consider how to integrate user-centered design into more aspects of their projects if they want to undertake more effective research for the users or audiences.