This scenario, including the personas and storyboards are adapted from Chapter 8: Designing the User Experience, Recording Science in the Digital Era: From Paper to Electronic Notebooks and Other Digital Tools, 2019,


Closed Research in a Local Research Group

Dr Pal is a postdoctoral research student in the Synthetic Chemistry research group at Castle University. Pal’s research is funded by an industrial funder and involves the development of novel techniques for synthesizing molecules. Pal’s research has significant commercial value for the funder, and the resulting intellectual property and results must be protected from competitors. As a result, Pal works independently and shares his results once a quarter with his managers who are located elsewhere. Pal is also responsible for supervising a small group of research students who are also working independently on their own projects. Pal finds it difficult to keep a track of what the students are doing and making time to check their work. To check their work, he needs to sit with them in order to manually go through their notebooks and data, and to provide feedback. Pal would like to find a way to improve how he can manage both his own research and that of his students, so that both he and the students can get more regular and faster feedback on their work. An ELN has been suggested to Pal as a way that he might be able to improve the management of his own and his students’ research. Although he is suspicious of using an ELN for his sensitive data, he likes the idea of being able to instantly access information about his students’ activities.

Kat is one of the Pal’s research students. She is new to the team and is struggling with the new techniques she has to learn, and with repeating experiments from the literature. The more experienced members of the research team have all gone through the experiments she is trying to replicate when they first joined, but she finds it hard to get time with them to ask questions and learn from their mistakes. Kat spends a lot of time trying different things to solve her problems and feels frustrated because she does not know if she is proceeding in the right direction. She does not want to waste Pal’s time by asking him simple questions. In her undergraduate course at Highway University, Kat liked using a VLE system with an area where the students could ask their lecturers questions and get quick responses on their practical courses. Kat would like something similar so that she and the other new researchers could help each other with the experiments and learn from more experienced staff. , Dr Pal is both a supervisor and researcher, and his research student Kat is a researcher.


Personas for Scenario Chemistry 3

Data Paths

C3-DP1: Capturing the record and constructing a paper


C3-SB1: Kat tries to replicate an old experiment