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On The Blog - Everyone's A Researcher

Gareth, Director, explains why instant data doesn’t always provide you with the best results.

Everyone’s a researcher these days. LinkedIn e-mailed me this week to push their tools, Twitter is littered with polls and don’t get me started (again) on those who think that any Monkey can design a good Survey.

The widespread growth in opinion gathering has largely been driven by technology, but (as with most things) with this has come a desire for it to be instantaneous and simplified.

But are people forgetting the most important thing, that it is accurate? After all, what’s the point of having the ability to have quick access to information if it isn’t? As my colleague Bethan will frequently say when running analytics, “shit in, shit out”.

Accuracy in research is generated by a lot of factors – the relevance of the audience and methodology; the quality of the survey design; the experience and expertise of the person capturing or analysing the data… amongst many others. The reason that I highlight these three in particular however is that these are areas frequently neglected when technology and immediacy come into play.

This was demonstrated to me very frequently the other week on a family holiday to Disneyland Paris. The toilet facilities around the park and train stations we used were full of these asking you to rate how clean they were…

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… and my 7 year old son took great enjoyment in pressing the red button in every single one of the absolutely immaculate facilities he used. Now as a conscientious researcher I suppose I should really have clicked the green one twice after him to accurately reflect the cleanliness of the facilities, but as a neurotic germophobe, my mind-set is to touch fewer things in bathrooms that other people have, not more!

I guess it makes sense to use a methodology which automatically screens out people more concerned about cleanliness when rating cleanliness? And which prevents you from knowing who responded, or why?

 Yeah but it’s easy, straightforward, visual and immediate…