Don't Be Blinded By New Market Research Technologies

Filed Under: Best Practices, Data Trends, Market Research, Online Qualitative Research


Steve Stallard

Senior Vice President, Quantitative Research

When I look at all of the new technology-driven methodologies, it seems that technology and research are finally in sync. The explosion is unmistakable and the excitement is palpable. I have to say that using mobile technology to get feedback from customers at the moment of purchase or upon their first use of a product has me stoked. No phony research setting, but in-the-natural-moment! I mean, C’mon!!!! OK, it’s true – perhaps only a geeky researcher could get excited by this, but it’s so cool!

It’s easy to get caught up and blinded by the new technologies and the excitement around them. It’s not uncommon to be so enamored with a sexy new approach that it becomes the only approach you turn to. I have a faded quote from Kaplan’s Conduct of Inquiry that’s been on my bulletin board for 20 years, “…the logician becomes so absorbed with enhancing the power and beauty of his instrument that he loses sight of the material with which it must work.” This can happen to the best of us so be wary.

I belong to a polling website with a simple premise: the more questions you answer, the more points you accrue. And, with points you get to pose questions to other users. Not a bad idea leveraging online technology and rewarding business people with something of real value–information. The website recently had a contest and I entered on a whim. My entry was an essay critiquing the site.

The problem was that the questions asked by non-researchers were horrible. Double-barreled, leading, incomplete response categories, you name it. I suggested that a “tips page” be offered so that poor questions would not lead to misleading results. Hah! Go figure, I won an iPad! We do ourselves well, by keeping a constant eye on the point of our inquiry and the foundational research aspects that remain relevant. You might even win an iPad or better yet, generate good research.

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