Contextual Inquiry

Contextual Inquiry


A contextual inquiry is a qualitative method that emphasizes the importance of watching participants in the context of how they use a product and how the physical environment influences their attitudes and actions.

Contextual inquiries are one of a number of methods used to help identify unmet user needs. They provide insight into

  • What problems people are trying to solve.
  • What points of friction they’re encountering.
  • How they solve problems.

MeasuringU provides full support for a contextual inquiry including planning, recruitment observations, interviews, and analysis.


  • Refining research questions, user-profiles and hypotheses to be explored.
  • Writing the moderator guide and observation rubric.
  • Recommending the right sample size. There isn’t a one-size-fits all number. Instead the right number is based on how common the problems are.  Sample sizes are usually relatively small (between 5 and 15) and tend to uncover most of the more common observations for each segment.


MeasuringU can manage and recruit qualified participants. We assist in developing screeners, scheduling, and managing participant honorariums and communication.


The MeasuringU team works with the client to

  • Summarize observations (quotes, behaviors) into insights.
  • Identify common themes and unmet needs.
  • Visualize workflows.
  • Brainstorm potential ideas that may address unmet needs and fix pain points.
  • Potential ideas that may address unmet needs and fix pain points

typical engagement price:

$10,000 - $25,000

typical duration:

3-5 weeks