How to Do Collaborative Research

Severin Matusek's recipe


1 Shared Figma board2-5 Research partnersGoogle Docs or Notion1 Screenshot tool1 Group chat1 Search Engine


Write a research brief that you'd like to explore. Make sure it's not only relevant to you but to a wider group of people. Ask yourself: who is this for? For whom might it create value? Write down the questions you'd like to find answers to. Share the brief with 2-5 research partners / friends. Agree on a fee or payment split. Make sure your collaborators bring existing knowledge on the subject matter and are diverse in backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, interests. Ideally they represent the target group, but they don't have to. Be excited about working together, tapping into the brains of each other. Start your research session. Make screenshots (online) or photos (offline) of everything you'd like to keep track of: websites, articles, newsletters, social media posts. Collect them in a folder and drag them into a shared FigJam board after each session. Add notes and annotations so your thoughts become legible to others. Arrange them visually in whatever way you please / feel inspired by. Keep yourself accountable and readable to your collaborators by writing a summary at the end of each session: new things you discovered, thoughts that came up, questions on your mind, next topics you'd like to dive into. Share your notes with the group in a shared Slack or Discord. Writing is sense making, adding clarity and direction to the loose thoughts you gathered in your session. Host a group call every other week. Use it to dive into each other's research progress. Everyone's on Figma, copying, pasting, adding notes and making connections. Let the magic happen. Analyse and distill after each session. Share with the group for feedback. After 2-3 sessions a thesis will emerge. A thesis = a point of view. It provides clarity on a topic and puts things into context. Publish the thesis. Share it with the audience. Host a call or event to discuss and provide feedback on. Take it from there and continue to explore.

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