Pop-up research


Pop-up research is more about where you gather information / carry out your research than it is about the research methods you choose to use. It is about taking your research to the people you wish to engage with, rather than relying on them coming to you.

Also known as

The tool

The template (developed by the Service Design Academy), helps to structure co-design activities when planning how to put ideas into practice. The planning pizza is designed to identify barriers to, and things needed for, the successful implementation of a new service design or project.

To be honest, while this has a catchy name, and may have novelty value, any other method of sorting ideas into themes will work equally well.

Why use it

When to use it

How to use it

Pop-up research should be carried out in a safe location where there is a good footfall. Locations might include libraries, community centres, or shopping centres, for example.

In order to be successful, you will need to be present to explain what you are doing. You should aim to do this in 30 seconds or less and be able to reassure people you are not trying to sell anything, or collect for anything.

Tips to be successful:

  • Work in pairs: it’s easier and safer.
  • Choose a position where passersby can see what you are doing. This can both attract potential participants as well be reassuring.
  • Physical props can help to draw attention and increase levels of engagement.
  • Aim for each interaction to last around 5 minutes.
  • Be prepared with a short set of questions. These will help to keep participants engaged and will also ensure that you do not lose focus.
  • Use simple data capture sheets to help structure the notes you take. It’ll make things easier.
  • Bear in mind ethics and the need for informed consent. Also make sure you have permission to set up wherever you are.



Similar to

Use in conjunction with

Complemented by


Additional information