How to choose a problem to solve and then how to formulate a research question around it?


Is there a way to choose a problem, topic to focus on for a fictional portfolio project, how to formulate a research question around it and then how to narrow it down?

I’ve decided to do a project in one month, from research to ixd. Was just wondering what kind of problems to focus on whose research can be done in 2 weeks. So that’s the scope :slight_smile:


For a hypothetical portfolio project, there are two typical approaches you can take:

  1. Find real-world work:
    Look into your own peer networks, spend a day doing explorative research for any given area that you might best have access to, understand general areas of opportunities and dive down on a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) problem area.

  2. ‘Design’ your brief:
    Take stock of things, look inwards and answer:
    – What skills do you want to showcase in this project for your portfolio?
    –What skills/mindsets/tools do you want to learn?
    Identify overlap and form a blue sky brief based on your personal interests that can explore that space in whatever way your context, timelines, and resources dictate.

Two tools that I think might help you:
Evidence planning
Problem definition

Showcasing your design process is just as important as the quality of the final deliverables in the project. Document copiously and don’t hesitate to talk about how you chose the problem area in the first place.


Really cool way to design your own brief, thanks Harsh!