Online research: your thoughts

Posted by on Sep 7, 2009 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Am doing the keynote at this annual MRS conference at the end of the month and thought I'd try to do things a little differently by asking you what you'd say: what's the one big thing you think researchers need to do/stop doing/understand/forget?


  1. Mark Hadfield
    September 8, 2009

    For me it’s really simple: Use the relevant tool for the job, and not the tool you always use. Be flexible.

  2. Ray Poynter
    September 8, 2009

    Stop asking closed questions, with closed questions the aritmetic is easy, but you have no idea whether the questions are the right question.

  3. John
    September 8, 2009

    Be prepared to admit that they haven’t proved anything.

  4. david
    September 8, 2009

    Recognise that what clients really want is insight, not research and that they often don’t understand the difference

  5. Alex, aka Socialbutterfly
    September 8, 2009

    I think researchers, like graduate/Ph.D types, should look outside of their field for ways to apply and integrate ideas and interests. For instance, have behavior change people talk to business research, have communications people talk to education researchers, etc. I think there is a lot of untapped potential in multi-disciplinary research and application of ideas.
    Just my .02.

  6. data monkey
    September 15, 2009

    Here are a couple to stop doing – we’ve all seen them done…
    Making clients listen to research methodology before you get to the interesting bit. It’s basically turning up and saying “We’ve got some really interesting stuff for you, but you’re not getting it get. You’re going to listen to 20 minutes on sample sizes and survey dip dates first.” (or if its a conference slot, 5 minutes. 25% of all the time you get!)
    Putting a chart of every survey question you asked, cut by every demographic you’ve covered in a 150 slide powerpoint deck and then giving it to the client to sort the mess out themselves.

  7. Ian
    September 16, 2009

    Try to enjoy being patronised by snotty planner-types?
    Seriously: strive to develop and incorporate a more sophisticated understanding of how human beings make decisions, recognising that until now we’re over-emphasised the conscious, rational part of the process, both at the point of research and of purchase.

  8. Will Ranner
    September 22, 2009

    Quite simple really:
    a) Make research a rewarding and enjoyable use of the respondent’s time.
    1. Stop making surveys tedious and long
    2. Get feedback from respondents on the quality of the survey. Respondents like the employee to the clients’ customer. For all firms employee engagement is key.
    3. Send all interviewers on face to face interviwer training (if face to face surveys still exist).
    b) Embrace and include new (and all) data sources
    4. Fuse data sources, desk reserch, DIY surveys, communities, focus groups.
    c) Invest in delivery of results
    5. Make client debriefs exciting, insightful, actionable and present them magnificently, with panache.

  9. helena chari
    September 27, 2009

    1. focus on bringing value to what the marketer wants to do/needs to get done and stop focusing on adding value to the research.
    2. think like a client
    3. study the findings and weave a story; do not create presentation findings based on the questionnaire structure
    4. have passion

  10. Mark Earls
    October 2, 2009

    Thanks, all. Most useful. I’ll be loading up a version of what I said shortly. M