Using Notion for easy storage and retrieval of anecdotes

Andrea F Hill
2 min readSep 28, 2020

Weeknotes #18: Sept 21 — 25, 2020

Last week, I had a new user researcher start on my team. This brings us to a designer, a part-time researcher/designer, a researcher, and myself. Until this point, we had weekly meetings, but we were more or less working on our own activities. This week I started really thinking about how we could be sure we were working together; sharing information and not duplicating efforts.

I’ve already mentioned Notion on this blog; I set up a research repository that would make it easy for researchers to search across the transcripts of previous interviews to identify related topics or content. Unlike a repository of formal research reports intended for stakeholders, this is really so that our research team is able to tap into information that may have surfaced in other contexts.

It’s tough to introduce a new tool to a group, especially if the team isn’t used to approaching work in this fashion. In my spare time I’ve been reading “Diffusion of Innovations”, which talks about how innovations are adopted. One of the factors that comes into play is how well a solution is compatible with a person’s current worldview or way of working. I believe that coding transcripts in this way may be a new way of working for my team, but I hope that in the long run the investment in setting up the repository will be valuable. I know personally it’s been a great way to be able to rapidly track down “something I know I heard”, and have the details of when and how the comment was made.

Often we can rely on anecdotes. By using Notion as a place to store verbatims with a link back to the full transcript and the context around the engagement, we can try to keep ourselves as honest as possible. We can use Notion as a place to store information and make it easy to retrieve, and then we can focus on more creative endeavours.

Computers are good at things like repetitive tasks, parallel processing, and data manipulation. … Humans are good at things like communication, creativity, and empathy.
— From DataRobot: What Computers Are Good At

I plan to share more about how we’re using Notion in another post, but I’m going to wrap up these weeknotes here for now —



Andrea F Hill

Director with the BC Public Service Digital Investment Office, former web dev & product person. 🔎 Lifelong learner. Unapologetic introvert