Making government research more inclusive

Image: sticky notes by OliM from the Noun Project

Canadian Digital Service design research team members Martha Edwards and Anne-Marie Mulumba share great insights into how people in government are making their research more inclusive:

Design researchers are responsible for advocating for people using government services. One of the biggest challenges we face is doing research that we feel represents the needs of all users – not just those who we think might fit neatly in the mainstream. Factors like race, ability, age, physical location, gender or digital literacy can put people at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to accessing government services.

There are so many challenges around running inclusive research – from finding and recruiting participants, to talking about difficult subjects, to doing the work to uncover your own biases that may be affecting the research. Bilan Hashi from the Ontario Workplace Safety & Insurance Board had a few tips around how to tackle this:

Focus on active listening and stay present during research sessions.

Be mindful if someone doesn’t want to talk to you or is unable to open up about their experiences.

Know your own limitations and protect your energy – it’s okay to pause if you need a break.

How people in government are making their research more inclusive

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at


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