The Golden Ticket
A process for research can be hard to pin down. Not because there isn't a standard (define objectives and hypothesis, synthesize and validate, followed by the iteration phase of prototyping and testing) but because while this process is somewhat linear, people aren't.
People are a wild mashup of all sorts of strange behaviors for any number of reasons. But that's what makes this work so fascinating.
Just as a manager's job is to orchestrate their team to bring out their best work, my job as a researcher is to determine the best method to gather the needs and wants of our users. It's not a one size fits all proposition. If you take the time to understand your people, you will reap the rewards from a business perspective as well.
Yes, people are messy. They are also what make your product what it is, so take your time and get to know what they have to say. They are your golden ticket.