Commitment to Understanding

You deserve better research. That means the intensity, richness, involvement, and throughness of your research needs to evolve to meet the new challenges of your business. Dedicated to preserving the integrity of your primary research, PhiPower strives to capture data in new ways, identify and bring to life implications in your data, and more persuasively communicate a clearer course of action for your business.

TopTenList

Top 10 Things to Think About When Doing Research

Top 10 Things to Think About When Doing Research

In homage to David Letterman
Top 10 Things to Think About When Doing Research

10) When research really counts, interview the right people/universe
9) Attract a broad spectrum of respondents, including those who typically are too busy for surveys
8) Get respondents into the right mindset, and spot and exclude problematic respondents
7) Gain and maintain respondents’ attention, and confirm that it was held
6) Maintain realism, and recognize that people are highly visual
5) Talk properly to respondents
4) Include behavioral measures
3) Couple design and research
2) Make sure survey details, from beginning to end, are covered
1) Make research relevant and powerful

10) When research really counts, interview the right people/universe
Rather than use self-selected samples, which often are comprised of fanatics and/or critics with an agenda, use recruited, “invitation-only” samples. Use a screening section that is not long, yet does not make it obvious how respondents need to answer in order to qualify for the survey.

9) Attract a broad spectrum of respondents, including those who typically are too busy for surveys
When invitations (honestly) state that a survey will only take 10 minutes or less, even people with hectic lives are willing to take surveys. Judiciously mention the topic being covered; a little self selection can be good.

8) Get respondents into the right mindset, and spot and exclude problematic respondents
Get respondents to agree to take the survey seriously and to provide honest and conscientious answers; respectfully allow those “in a hurry” to drop out. Among those who commit and remain, use trap questions to reject those who provide ridiculous answers (e.g., those who indicate they store a laptop computer in a refrigerator). Additionally identify and remove “careless speeders” such as those who indiscriminately put every attribute, those that are positive and those that are negative, in the top box. Exclude those who provided gibberish answers to open-ended questions, and those who encountered any technical problem. (In a typical PhiPower survey, less than 1% report a technical problem.) Look for duplicates. (PhiPower’s passive digital fingerprinting maintains respondent anonymity, yet is more stringent than security provided by panel providers.) (To accommodate data cleaning, at no expense to clients, PhiPower has a policy of over-sampling each cell by 10%; once the sample is filled and cleaned, minor weighting realigns the data set to the original target/quota distribution.)

7) Gain and maintain respondents’ attention, and confirm that it was held
By keeping surveys brief; making them visually compelling; using clear and concise language and questions; being particularly polite, respectful, and consumer-friendly; and by interactively “listening,” respondents should be engaged with surveys and should complete them. Always check the completion rate. (For PhiPower surveys, typically 95-98% of qualified respondents complete the survey.)

6) Maintain realism, and recognize that people are highly visual
By presenting respondents with vivid presentations, be they animated simulations with voice over (PhiPower calls them GuidedToursTM), build-your-own exercises (respondents can compare alternatives and construct their desired product, service, or message), or carefully controlled experimental designs (different stimuli can be presented to matched sub-samples), learn how to optimize and market offerings. These techniques, when used in a realistic context, can clearly identify which execution is the most effective, which puts the brand in the best light, which features or claims are the most compelling, and what refinements or messages customers would prefer. These techniques also capture and hold respondents’ attention.

5) Talk properly to respondents
Recognize who you are talking to, and use the correct prose and scales. When interviewing children, for example, do not use the same wording or scales as used with the parent. (PhiPower has extensive experience conducting children’s research, and, with the help of parents, has successfully interviewed children as young as three-years-of-age.) By making online surveys “conversational,” and using a combination of logic and tailored text, follow-up questions can convey that the survey is “listening” to the respondent, and deeper insights are apt to be gathered from follow-up questions. (PhiPower has extensive experience with kids, teens, Millennials, seniors, African Americans, Hispanics, medical professionals, business/B2B niches, and international targets.)

4) Include behavioral measures
Self-reported opinions and attitudes are important, but behavioral measures may be more telling. Look at “time-spent” statistics (at the page level). Consider giving respondents tools whereby they can examine stimuli, and monitor whether or not they turned or zoomed in on an object, or if they acquired information about one feature over others. Visual rankers utilize scarcity, there is limited room at the top, and seeing what respondents place high (or low) in a ranking can provide very useful information. Recontact respondents to learn what they did after the passage of time; gathering self-reported behavior, and marrying answers to original data can provide validation (look, for example, to see how those who said they would watch or buy initially reacted vs. those who did not subsequently watch or buy).

3) Couple design and research
Do not do long, linear, repetitious, boring surveys. (PhiPower built its proprietary survey platform to be fast, reliable, visual, and flexible; with its in house researcher designers, graphic artists, animators, voice-over talent, programmers, quality control teams, data-processing experts, and experienced analysts, sophisticated and complex studies can be conducted in the same time or less than typical surveys.)

2) Make sure survey details, from beginning to end, are covered
Details are important. By using research experience, pro-actively looking ahead, and making refinements along the way, problems are avoided and research projects are reliably completed. Refined procedures, hundreds of Quality Assurance (QA) passes per project, and internal data integrity checks are necessary.

1) Make research relevant and powerful
For every project, start with an open mind (we say, “start with a blank sheet of paper”), creatively think about what is important, and take multiple perspectives. Put yourself in the shoes of different types of respondents, and clients (designers and marketers may have different needs). Instead of conducting “cookie cutter” research, continually question techniques and consider refinements. When considering results, think about how the topic being studied could be changed, and how those changes could radically alter its performance or potential, and convey that when presenting results; avoid “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Look for unifying stories or themes to make results more meaningful. Think about how research results, and founded recommendations, can ripple through an organization and really make a difference. (At PhiPower we believe “inspired understanding” can do that.)

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