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Top 10 qualities required to be a good researcher

It is a question we have been asked before, and one which has been pondered over. What personal qualities are required to be a good market researcher?

Here are the team’s attempts to answer the question – although we welcome your input too! Please add comments below or get in touch through social media.

There is a researcher within all of us just waiting to be let loose…

Being ‘good’ according to the Oxford English Dictionary can be aligned with a multitude of properties of which “high quality”, “competent” and “skilful” are amongst those listed to name a few.

We believe that the qualities required to be good researcher can be broken down into more specific core competencies.  Here are the thoughts of the Mustard team, in no particular order…

1. An analytical mind

“As a market researcher you are constantly analysing a variety of factors. Why does the client ultimately want to do this research? What is the appropriate methodology? When should this research take place? What are the appropriate questions to ask and how? Why did the respondent say that? What are the findings telling us? Why are they telling us that? How do I best communicate the findings? etc. On a daily basis researchers must be able to take a step back and analyse the situation presented to them. The obvious answer is not necessarily the right one” (Gareth Hodgson)

“You have to be able to see the bigger picture as well as the detail. People often find it easier to do one or the other- it is a skilled researcher that can do both simultaneously” (Richard Walker)

2. A people person

“This is important for clients –buyers of research would rather work with professional AND friendly consultants. Also for respondents – to get the best out of interview / focus group participants” (Richard Walker)

3. The ability to stay calm

“It can be really stressful as a researcher sometimes, especially when you have pressing deadlines or are experiencing problems with a data set, for example. When these situations occur, you just have to keep focused and think logically – there will always be an end point, even if it doesn’t feel like it!” (Bethan Turner)

4. Intelligence

“Research requires critical analysis but most of all common sense” (Liz Brierley)

5. Curiosity

“You may have the necessary intelligence but if you are not curious enough then you won’t be passionate about delving deeper to unearth more insight” (Anthony Shephard)

“At the end of the day, the role of a market researcher is to find out about other people’s business and tell it to other people. To be a market researcher you have to have an inherent interest in what other people think (potentially about absolutely anything!), and the nosier you are, the greater depth of information you can extract” (Gareth Hodgson)

6. Quick thinker

“Things don’t always go to plan so you need to be able to think fast” (Anthony Shephard)

7. Commitment

“It’s a tough job – the hours can be long, the deadlines short” (Richard Walker)

8. Excellent written and verbal communication skills

“So different audiences can clearly understand the findings of the research and what it means for them” (Jo Iaconianni)

“You have to have excellent written communications and be fluent in the language of business” (Richard Walker)

9. Sympathetic

“Having a sympathetic ear when listening to some respondents’ moans and groans is always a good skill to have!” (Liz Brierley)

10. Systematic

“Check, check and check again. It sounds simple but I’ve definitely learnt that building in a proper amount of time for checking your work always pays dividends. This can be applied to all parts of the research process” (Bethan Turner)

“Attention to detail – the ability to ensure that data is accurately presented and reported” (Anthony Shephard)

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