Archive for August, 2018



Three Tips to Avoid Surprise Objectives

Posted on: August 21st, 2018 by doyle

We’ve all been there. We ask thoughtful and detailed questions upfront to understand the business needs and the research objectives.  We use this information to create a study design and craft a targeted discussion guide.   And then suddenly, brand new objectives pop up and derail the carefully conceived plan. 

Here are three tips to help minimize the unwanted appearance of surprise objectives:

  1. Define success at the beginning of the project – and write it down. The definition of success varies from person to person, leaving room for misinterpretation so make sure all key stakeholders are in alignment on their expectations of a successful outcome.  Document this in writing and be sure the definition of success is clearly stated on all collateral.  If objectives change as the project evolves, update them and be sure they’re clear and present at each stage of the project.
  2. Press for details. No question is a stupid question, especially when it comes to forming a partnership based on mutual agreement and understanding. Ask for as much detail upfront as possible—moderators of the client, and the client of their team members. When stakeholders and researchers begin to assume, we run a considerable risk of misalignment when the project ends.  As curious, inquisitive researchers, our job of collecting information begins well before the first respondent engages – we must engage our stakeholders from the start by asking smart questions, clarifying any lingering assumptions and confirming that we are meeting expectations.
  3. Check-in early and often. Throughout the project, plan check-ins at key milestones where important information is shared efficiently. This gives ample opportunity for reaction, response, and redesign if needed, or to bring attention to initiatives that aren’t aligning with expectations. When everyone participates in a well-designed, efficiently executed process, we can all share in the successful outcome and diminish the potential of surprise objectives coming to light too late.

Have any tips that have worked well for you? We’d love to talk further about how to avoid or manage surprise objectives.

 

Quant, Qual, and Quant+Qual: Addressing Data Quality

Posted on: August 8th, 2018 by doyle

My good friend and colleague Jim Bryson at 20|20 recently shared his thoughts in a blog post about qualitative research and its value for protecting sample and data quality.  I agree with Jim’s key point, that data fraud is a huge industry problem.  Another concern I have is that despite massive panel sizes the reality is that only a fraction of those panelists are active.  That means we are relying more and more on a smaller and smaller pool of participants for the information on which huge business decisions are based.  It seems to me that the panel industry is ripe for disruption. 

As for qualitative and the role it can play in addressing both issues, there is no question that qualitative recruiting can be more precise, and more accurate, because the smaller numbers required allow for a high-touch recruit. It is much harder to be a “cheater or repeater” when you are “face-to-face” with the recruiter and the researcher.  However, qualitative research is not always the solution our clients are seeking.  And is in no way a 1:1 replacement for a true quantitative study.  Which is why hybrid research is surging in popularity.

The ability to scale qualitative, quickly and efficiently, makes it a viable alternative or supplement to more traditional quantitative research. For example, 30-50 online chat interviews might just meet your need for a small-scale quant study, while still getting you the VOC insights that qualitative provides.  Best of both worlds.

Or, something the Doyle team is doing more of is conducting a full-scale quantitative study supplemented by a small number of qualitative interviews.   Respondents meeting key criteria can be routed to the qualitative exercise immediately after participating in the survey or they can be hand-picked after the fact to amplify specific quantitative findings.

While qualitative and quantitative research serve distinctly different purposes, the increasing capabilities available for blending them produces multiple benefits worth considering.