Tutorial 2: Building Your Mission

After reading Tutorial 1: Planning your Research, you've mastered the 5 mission types and you've decided how to structure your missions. This tutorial will help you build missions strategically so scouts will provide the kind of insights you're looking for! 

If this is your first time building a dscout mission, be sure to spend a few minutes reviewing the basics of dscout and how missions and entries work. You can also take a look at the researcher glossary to make sense of any unfamiliar terms.

How to Build a dscout Mission

  1. Create A Project
  2. Using Templates to Get Started
  3. Define Specs
  4. Write Instructions
  5. Write Questions
  6. Test Your Mission
  7. Add Scouts and Launch

1. Create A Project

Sign in at dscoutapp.com. The first time you login to the dscout researcher dashboard, you'll be prompted to name your research project. If this isn’t the first time you’ve created a project in dscout, you’ll be able to create a new one by clicking on the drop down arrow in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Click the “Add New Project” button to name your project and get started.

Use the " Permissions" tab to add colleagues to your project and assign them the role of "viewer" or "owner" (only owners can make edits).

Once you have a project to work with, you can start building your mission, or (if you have a dscout Enterprise subscription) a screener. You can return to the dashboard whenever you wish by clicking the dscout logo at the top left.

2. Using Templates to Get Started

If you're already a dscout pro, you can create a new mission from scratch or copy one that you created previously. But, if you could use a helping hand structuring your mission so it captures the kind of insights you need, just choose from one of five customizable templates that capture data related to ideation, inventory, moments, process, or reflection. After previewing and selecting one, you'll still need to edit your overview, instructions, and mission questions to make it your own.

3. Define Specs

This is where you'll name your mission and set a couple of different parameters, including how long your mission will last and how many entries you're expecting scouts to create. Sometimes missions only stay open for 2-3 days, but they can last two weeks or more, depending on your needs.

PRO TIP: If you want to write interview-style questions that scouts will answer just once, you may do so by asking scouts to create only 1 entry. But if you frame your questions in such a way that it makes sense for them to be answered repeatedly in different circumstances, diary-style, you may do so by requiring scouts to create multiple entries. (And in the course of a single dscout project, it frequently makes sense to run one of each style of mission.)

For step by step instructions and best practices for defining mission specs, take a look at the define specs article.

4. Write Instructions

This is where you'll write a brief overview to get scouts interested in your mission, and an in depth set of instructions to communicate what you'd like scouts to do, and how you'd like them to do it. 

PRO TIP: Take a look at this example to see what a comprehensive overview and detailed instructions look like.

5. Write Mission Questions

Here's where you'll write the questions scouts will answer! Here are a few key things to remember.

  • You can ask 10 questions per mission, one of which can be a media prompt.
  • If scouts are submitting multiple entries, make sure it makes sense for your mission questions to be answered multiple times. For example, if your scouts are creating a new entry for each snack in their cupboard you can't ask "what is your favorite snack" because this can't be answered again and again. Instead, you should ask "what is it that you like about THIS snack?" More on this here.
  • Review the kinds of questions you can ask scouts, and use a good mixture of question types.
  • You can use skip logic to jump scouts to different questions based on their answers to a specific close ended question. 

PRO TIP: If you haven't already, take a look at these examples of good mission design.

6. Test Your Mission

After building a dscout mission, you have the option to click on "Test Mission" in the lower right hand corner of your status bar in the Setup page prior to launching. You'll then be able to invite up to 5 testers. 

Once these folks are invited, they'll get an email from dscout with directions for downloading the dscout mobile app from the App Store or Google Play. They'll have 5 days to see exactly what your scouts will see and can even create entries. 

If you're happy with the mission design after trying it out, you can end the testing period manually in the Setup page by clicking on the "End Test" button in the lower right hand corner. Ending your test mission will delete all of the test data so that you can keep your mission data separate and clean. 

7. Add Scouts and Launch

After you've confirmed that you'd like to end the test session, you can add your scouts to the "Invite" tab. There, you'll be able to craft your custom invitation message and add your scouts. You'll see a "Launch" button in the same lower right hand corner which will prompt you to pay $295 for the mission fees and send out your scout invitations.

PRO TIP: You can invite your own participants one at a time, in a batch by copy and pasting from an Excel spreadsheet (as shown above), or automatically from a previous mission. For step by step instructions on how to do this, go here. If you'll be inviting scouts you identified using a dscout screener, be sure to follow these steps first.

And for a comprehensive overview that shows what scouts see when they're invited to your mission, take a look at what scouts see on dscout's mobile app. For tips on how to manage your participants once your mission(s) launch, click on Tutorial 4 below.

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