Guiding Questions


Here is a sample of the guiding questions you can ask yourself when applying the Lean Research approach to your work. For the full list of questions, please download our Lean Research framework

Is our research rigorous?

  • What steps are we taking to ensure the internal validity of the research?
  • If applicable, what steps are we taking to ensure the external validity of the research?
  • How are we protecting the data of the people who participate in the research? 

Is our research respectful?

  • What actions are we taking to create an environment in which research subjects can enjoy and find meaning in the experience?
  • What actions are we taking to ensure that the human subject feels truly free to reject participation in the study or to drop out of a study once it has started without fearing or experiencing negative consequences?
  • Are we appropriately using existing information and knowledge that local host institutions may have?
  • What specific steps will we take to provide study subjects with opportunities to review and refute (if applicable) the study findings?

Is our research relevant?

  • What secondary research have we done in order to assure us that primary research on the topic we are proposing is actually needed?
  • What steps are we taking to understand which aspects of the research local host institutions and research subjects find most relevant and how are we factoring that into our research design and dissemination strategy?
  • What steps will we take to communicate and share the research findings in ways that are understandable and accessible to all stakeholders, including research subjects?

Is our research right-sized?

  • What criteria are we using to assess how large (in terms of people or households involved) and costly it is reasonable for the study to be?
  • How are we assessing which activities and questions are essential to the research objectives and which ones we can eliminate? Are we eliminating all non-essential protocol and questions?

For the full set of guiding questions accompanying the Lean Research principles, download the Lean Research framework.