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Contextual Inquiry

Contextual Inquiry is a qualitative research approach that employs a number of different one-on-one observation- and/or interview methods and can be used for a range of purposes, including:  discovering and defining user or customer needs; providing insight into current work habits, tools, and environments; or discovering and defining implementation requirements for user experience quality and technical performance.

What We Do

We will work with you to identify the right particpants (user profile, persona), recruit them and identify the key issues or questions of interest. We then visit users in the use-environment of interest and conduct the interview and/or observational data collection. This often includes audio or video recordings and still pictures of the environments and activities encountered. We typically uncover a wealth of detail about attitudes (towared technology and tool, their jobs, etc.), current skills and tasks, barriers or challenges, and desired changes or new capabilities that would add value.

What You Get

A report – which can be a word document, PowerPoint presentation, or other format as desired, including video or pictorial highlights and direct quotations in the users’ or customer’s own words about issues of interest, attitudes and feelings, satisfaction with currrent or proposed new capabilities, etc. We can present the report to our clients at a location of their chosing or using web-meeting and phone links, or deliver it to clients and be available for followup questions or clarification.


Benchmark Research & Safety, Inc. is a human factors and ergonomics consulting firm that specializes in usability, user-centered design, product safety, warnings, expert witnessing, research (design, ethnographic, perceptual) and training. Benchmark Research & Safety, Inc. is one of the few multi-capability firms in the Northwest - headquartered in Moscow, Idaho with branch offices in Boise and Rigby, Idaho; Portland, Oregon; and Grand Junction, Colorado.