Type of research:


Action-oriented research, participatory research


Similar terms:


Human rights achievement research, policy-oriented research, social change-oriented research


Human-Centred Design


  • Helps the development of marginalized communities
  • Addresses the needs and particularities of all people, including the ones least visible
  • Leads to more social inclusion


Human-Centred Design is needed the most when the researcher understands that the inquired population may have particularities (needs, problems, preferences) that the researcher may not fully understand or anticipate accurately enough to build a methodology from its own perspective.



How and when to use HCD?


Human-Centred Design is used when the scope of the research project is solving a problem, especially a social problem or approaching a sensible target (eg. vulnerable/ marginalized groups)


How and when does HCD help in marketing research?


  • When having or wanting to discover a niche target that is not yet fully understood
  • When the target for a brand/ product / service is difficult to include – refuses to participate in classical marketing research studies
  • When brand image and social responsibility connect – sometimes in CSR programs there is a need for feedback and evaluation of the involvement of a company and the effect on one or more brands that should also include more marginalized communities


Human-Centred Design is also more than just a perspective, but in similarity with Design Thinking, it brings clarity and structure in the methodological approach, helping produce important insights and useful empirically grounded solutions. One of the most important aspects to be taken into account when pursuing this approach is its iterative essence.


How to do it


  • Put yourself in the shoes of the other! The researcher starts in an explorative and empathetic approach or a preliminary research in order to define the research universe.


  • Periodic evaluation and improvement in every step! The ideas or findings that come from this approach must be constantly evaluated together with the target in order to be turned into grounded solutions.


  • Transparency and sharing knowledge among stakeholders! In policy-oriented research specifically, there are usually involved all interested throughout the entire process, to offer feedback and improve the research, but also to find out precious information that should guide their work and produce results fast