Google Research

From Basecamp to Summit: Scaling Field Research Across 9 Locations

  • Jens Riegelsberger
  • Audrey Yang
  • Konstantin Samoylov
  • Elizabeth Nunge
  • Molly Stevens
  • Patrick Larvie
CHI 2011 Extended Abstracts, ACM, New York, NY


In this case study we discuss the mechanics of running a complex field research project within one week: 32 field visits, 4 countries, 9 locations, 10+ researchers, 30+ observers. We outline the goals that lead to this project plan, and the tools and processes we developed to succeed under the constraints given. We discuss in particular (1) the role of ongoing in-field analysis and data sharing, (2) the role of basecamp as a centralized mission control center and real-time analysis hub, and (3) the added value of running the study and initial analysis in such a compressed time frame. We close with a reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach, as well as ideas for future improvements.

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