Can Being Stuck on the “Right Methodology” Get You the Wrong Answer?

There is a super post over at Research Access from Ron Sellers  that originally appeared on Green Book Blog that points out how often we get stuck in the rut of fighting for the right methodology – when we should be fighting about the BEST methodology to get the information we need.

There don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules about specifically which methods are right, that seems to be up to the expertise of the researcher and the decisions that they are looking to make which will be using the data they are collecting.

It’s funny how we get sidetracked by the shiny new tools and ways to get at things and then forget about the basics; use qualitative, exploratory tools to get to the hard questions.  Then use more specific quantitative tools to gather the statistically relevant information that will help you predict what the larger overall population will do.

It’s kind of like cooking isn’t it?  The same ingredients in the hands of a novice yield completely different results than they do in the hands of an Iron Chef!

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Webinar followup: Online Panel Management-An Opportunity to Enhance Your Research Practice

Thank you for joining us in our 1 hour presentation: Online Panel Management-An Opportunity to Enhance Your Research Practice.

Feel free to download the slides and let us know if you have further questions. A recording for this presentation is not available due to technical audio difficulties. We plan to schedule another panel webinar within the next month. Make sure to sign up for the next Panel presentation by Rudly Raphael of SurveyAnalytics.

Infographics Are a Great Way to Show Research Data AND Drive Traffic to Your Site

The really great thing about the merging of art, design and technology is the fun new ways that we can present data.  There is no excuse for killing your audience with boring charts and tables.  Infographics are here to not only inform the reader about data and statistics, but get them engaged and excited enough to pass the resource on to others.

What’s Infographics?

(Information Graphics) An umbrella term for illustrations and charts that instruct people, which otherwise would be difficult or impossible with only text. Infographics are used worldwide in every discipline from road maps and street signs to the many technical drawings in this encyclopedia.

You can’t begin to appreciate how powerful an infographic is until you actually see them in action.  In fact, infographics are spreading to all forms of communication, not just presentations – but resume’s too.  Take a look at some of these.


And then there are the really good infographics that explain processes or data that are just too hard to “get” any other way.  There are more cool infographic resumes to look at over at Cool Infographics Blog.

Check out these infographics about social media



There are 65 Social Media Infographics you can look at courtesy of Pamorama Blog.

Why market Research is More Relevant than EVER

There’s a trend going on that may seem threatening to market research on the outside, but is actually a huge whopping opportunity on the inside and here it is –

Data is MORE important than EVER.  But UNDERSTANDING data and putting it into a context that helps marketers develop strategies and sales people sell is an area where market research hasn’t explored as much as it’s needed.

Providing data and context so that the creatives can create infographics that help people understand products, services, industries and markets is HUGELY important!

So You Want to Create Your Own Infographic?

Great – you’re sold and now you want to get on creating an infographic!  How do you even begin?

  1. Throw down all the data – You’re going to need a main point, theme or message (point #2) and if you don’t have one, then the best thing to do is to throw down ALL the data that you have and start looking for comparisons, contrasts and what images come to mind as you look at the data.
  2. What’s it all about?  What’s the burning issue you want to communicate?  Is there a main theme that you’re trying to represent?  For example, if you are presenting data about social media – you can use the social media icons .  If the point of your data is to show relationships, then think about what shows a relationships such as a family tree.  If music is a theme, then think about instruments or sheet music.  You get the picture.  Use the examples to spur ideas.
  3. Keep it as simple as possible.  This requires really understanding the data and what it is telling you.  Reduce it down to its simplest visual form.
  4. Decide on a basic type of infographic – You can choose a timeline, a Venn diagram, flow charts and maps.  The possibilities are endless.
  5. Give yourself time and a break.  Unless you’re a statistical and graphic genius, chances are you will go through several iterations and drafts.  Don’t get discouraged.

Here is a link to a bunch of free tools and resources where you can create your own infographics.

Have you already created an infographic – share it with us by leaving a link to your graphic in the comments.

Webinar Follow-Up: Learn How to Run A Conjoint Analysis Project in 1 Hour

Thank you for attending our webinar today. Here is the recording and slides for our presentation. Please download and review as needed.

Let us know if you have further questions regarding your interest in SurveyAnalytics Conjoint Analysis tool and we will be happy to assist you.

Online panel management – an opportunity to enhance your research practice.

With more than 75% of the US population currently online, combined with an astounding global internet penetration, it’s no surprise  that more and more organizations are developing and managing their own custom online panels.  A pre-recruited online panel community will keep your customers engaged, increase response rate, provide better data quality for your research and marketing initiatives and most importantly, reduce project cost.

While a proprietary panel has strong benefits, the elements of design, management, maintenance and the selection of an effective panel management solution are critical to the health of the panel.

If you’re considering an online panel management solution but don’t know where to begin, or have been hindered by:

  • Expensive software licensing fees
  • Outrageous  survey data collection charges
  • Platforms that require extensive IT expertise to manage your panel
  • Solutions with pretty graphics, but anemic in panel management features
  • Solutions that are just “overkill”
Please join Rudly Raphael, our Director of Panel Solutions for a comprehensive Webinar on the in’s and out’s of developing your own panel for research. We will also discuss CONFIDENCE SCORE – A patent pending solution integrated within MicroPanel designed for the selection of more accurate and richer sample, which ultimately improves survey data quality.

Webinar Registration:

Chrome Users Now Have New Extension for Data Management

This isn’t exactly a survey application, but it came in handy the other day while I was scheduling appointments for in-depth interviews.

It’s a new Google Chrome Extension called Automato.  Here is the quick explanation that I received:

Automato is a Google Chrome browser extension that helps regular folks solve problems related to workflow, data entry, and automation. With Automato, users can easily integrate their data with existing web services. Users can connect data sources (CSV files, Google Docs spreadsheets, data collected from Wufoo forms) to 3rd party web services by simply “drawing” data connections on top of the web pages they’re integrating with.

Unlike “enterprise” data-integration solutions, Automato doesn’t require IT team involvement and doesn’t detour the user. Automato is lightweight, deployed at the end-user level, and designed to seamlessly augment the end-user’s existing workflow.

Automato can help small businesses, individuals, and anyone who depends on web-based SaaS solutions save time, money, and increase productivity.

The explanation was fine – but the real benefit came in the form of a video on how to do a mail merge with your Google Gmail!  This was exciting AND it was exactly what I needed to do.  So this was the right app at the right time for me.

When I asked Adam Varga, the developer about some market research applications he gave me this quickie:

How about creating a “Customer Satisfaction” with an added question at the end where the survey taker can provide an email address if they want. Then the survey taker can export the raw data from the survey as a CSV… and load that CSV into Automato… and easily respond to customers in Gmail, by mapping the Question Pro mail field to the “to” field in Gmail?

If you’re a Chrome Browser User, Download your Automato app now and give it a shot!

One more quick cool thing is that Automato will appear in your menu when you are saving your survey data.  So when you click on your survey data link — you will have the option to send it to Automato!  Very Cool.

Tools to Help You Analyze Social Media Chatter

There is no longer any question about whether or not social media is a fad or is of any use.  The answer to that question is YES – but only if you know how to read it and use it to achieve your goals.

Up until about a year ago, conversations about social media were about the tools and the web sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, etc.  what they were and how to use them.  This conversation has evolved to how to leverage these tools in your business.  In other words — there’s no doubt that people are communicating and connecting via social media.  Now the next level of conversation is how to make it mean something.

Right now, we have lots of data and very little information.  This is changing with the advent of new tools that will help us understand how to become better at using the technology we have.

Getting Better at Social Media – It’s not Quantity, it’s Quality

As in every other phase of life, it’s not quantity, it’s quality.  The same is true for your social media interactions.  It used to be about having lots of Twitter followers, and now it’s about having the right Twitter followers and Tweeting the right things.  The way to measure the quality of your Twitter stream is through tools like Klout.

Klout measures your overall influence on the web.  To what degree to people take what you say seriously enough to pass it on and share it with others.  The higher your score the better.

While no number can actually measure what we humans know as influence, this number can help you choose those individuals or brands that do have either reach or viral value.

Track Trends on Twitter

There are free tools out there that will help you track trends on Twitter.  You’ll be amazed at what people are talking about — @JustinBieber?

You can see how mentions of Justin Bieber go up in time for his movie release and for his performance on the Grammys.

More Industrial Text Analysis

If you’d like to do more intense and industrial text analysis – check out DiscoverText.  You can upload text from surveys and from any of your social media streams and create tag clouds and a variety of analyses that will help you turn data into information.

What’s to Learn?

While surveys are still a valid way to collect information in order to make decisions, social media also offers a lot of opportunities for learning and listening so that you can figure out what to PUT into your survey.

Some tools are simplistic and others are sophisticated.  All that’s required from us is the energy, effort and patience in understanding how to read the data and then how to interpret the data in a way that helps you take action.

Free Webinar – Wed 2/23/11@ 9AM: Learn How To Run A Discrete Choice Conjoint Analysis Project in Just 1 Hour

Webinar Presentation

Wed February 23rd, 2011

9:00am PST

Sign up here

Ever thought about using Conjoint Analysis as part of your research strategy?

Conjoint analysis is a popular marketing research technique that marketers use to determine what features a new product should have and how it should be priced. Conjoint analysis became popular because it was a far less expensive and more flexible way to address these issues than concept testing.
Contrary to popular belief the basics of conjoint analysis are not hard to understand. Give us one hour of your time and we can show you how to conduct a conjoint analysis project.

Join Survey Analytics for this free one-hour webinar on how to effectively conduct a Conjoint Analysis project. You will learn to prioritize needs, explore pricing options, and validate your product and service concepts.

We’ll answer:

1) What is Conjoint Analysis and how does it work to calculate your respondents’ trade-off decisions?

2) How can you develop Conjoint Studies that provide actionable data for new products/services?

3) How can Conjoint Studies help you predict potential market share for new product concepts? Can you simulate this?

This webinar will answer these questions and more as well as provide a forum to discuss specific challenges.

Click Here To Sign Up:

About the Presenters:

As the SurveyAnalytics Executive Vice President, Andrew Jeavons has over 25 years in the market research industry. He is a frequent writer and speaker for various publications and events around the country. He has a background in psychology and statistics, and currently focuses on innovation within survey research.

Esther LaVielle is the Chief Education Director at QuestionPro and SurveyAnalytics, which was started in 2002 in Seattle and is now one of the fastest growing private companies in the US. Prior to her adventure at SurveyAnalytics she spent 3 years as a Qualitative Project Manager and has a background healthcare, hospitality, legal, and market research.

Are Your Respondents Suffering from Choice Fatigue?

I just saw this interesting article on the Neuromarketing Blog about choice fatigue.  They site several studies that show that customers really just get tired of choosing.  And a study on voting patterns in California showed that the lower an item is on the ballot, the less likely it is that people will vote on it.

And now that so much voting has gone to electronic ballots – voting starts resembling online surveys – doesn’t it?  And having done both, I’d say that it isn’t just the choice that’s exhausting — it’s the wording of the issues — or the questions that actually tired me out.

It takes a lot to keep a respondent engaged – and how you structure your survey can have a lot to do with that.  Here are a few hints to keep your respondents engaged while they take surveys:

– Use the “progress bar” feature – this way respondents can see how much further they have to go before it’s over.

Keep it short – Keep your surveys as short as possible.  The ideal length is under 10 minutes, preferably 5.

Not too many pages- Don’t make your respondent click through 20 pages of questions.  Group questions into categories and let them see 3 – 5 questions at a time.  Use page breaks to help respondents transition from one topic or type of question to another.

Include pictures and media in your survey.  With Survey Analytics and QuestionPro you can increase the likelihood of respondents being more engaged by inserting video or audio.  Use the presentation text question type insert the embed code for your picture, video or audio.

– Word questions at 6th grade level – Part of the issue with choosing and voting is that the brain is processing each choice and actually living through it.  If your respondents is working too hard to understand the question, they will simply skip it or quit altogether.  Use the Flesch-Kincaid readability Index to test your copy.  To turn it on it Microsoft Word, simply click on File/Options/Proofing and check the box for “show readability staitstics”.

This short list should get you moving on the right track.  What are some of your tips and tricks for keeping respondents engaged and moving through the survey process?

Don’t Forget – They Tell You What They Wish Were True

I was reading a book that referenced this Malcolm Gladwell  tidbit about spaghetti sauce.  The story is about a very interesting bit of research around what kind of spaghetti sauce people prefer.

The interesting result that came out was that people will say one thing while actually preferring something completely different.

For example.  If you were to ask people what kind of coffee they liked – they might say they want it “rich” and “bold” and “flavorfull” which leads you to believe that they might prefer a Columbian or something really deep and robust when, instead, what they really DO when they go out and BUY coffee is buy the 1500 calorie Lattee at Starbucks.

In other words, people don’t tell the truth on surveys.  They answer with what they aspire to be or to be true or they answer with what they think is cool or politically correct.  In other words, you need to actually WATCH your customers in action around the circumstances surrounding your product.

Have you had an experience like this?  Tell us about it , what you learned and how you adjusted for it.