As we welcome the arrival of warmer weather, we tend to try to simplify our routines and our lifestyle. We modify our diets, embrace an active summer lifestyle, and switch over to summer wardrobes. Many of us use this time of year as an opportunity to clear out the clutter in our homes. There’s something about the longer days and pleasant temperatures that generates a desire to make our lives less complicated.
So why not also look to streamline your research to facilitate a more efficient collection and analysis of results? By taking the time in the planning process to take advantage of opportunities to thoroughly review and, where appropriate, to simplify methodologies, research instruments, reporting, and timelines, we can ensure that the research outcomes and recommendations are on time, on budget, and supportive of your business objectives.
Here’s a few ways to examine whether you are meeting your research needs in the most effective way:
- Start with the research objectives… Do they address the business objectives? Our clients are asked to accomplish as much as possible with the research they commission. As a result, the team may request insights or data on tangential issues. Prior to issuing an RFP, confer with your internal stakeholders to determine whether these topics can be reserved for more appropriate opportunities or are being better addressed via other existing research. If they are not, when necessary, and possible, include these probes and questions as secondary objectives to cover.
- Double check that the methodology best fits the objectives. Occasionally, the volume of research to be conducted inhibits our natural researchers’ tendency to step back and evaluate our plan of action. As part of the planning process, take the opportunity to assess the proposed methodology – perhaps even obtain a second opinion from a colleague. In the long run, it may not only save time and resources but also mitigate the need to re-research the issue.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – carefully review your research instruments. Do the questions in your survey/discussion guide address the research objectives without repeating questions and/or introducing issues that are “off-target?” For qualitative research, are the questions open-ended, straightforward or misleading? For quantitative research, is the survey difficult to follow, does the market-basket in usage questions over-represent the armamentarium, are the questions too complicated, etc.? Look for areas of over-explanation and/or introduction that can waste time executing and analyzing.
- Plan ahead with your research partners for analysis and reporting. Set time aside to inform your partners on areas of greatest importance to your stakeholders. Advise them on major milestones/key meetings which the research will inform so that the team receives the most pertinent information when it is needed the most.
By implementing these approaches, we at Evolution feel that the research process can progress smoothly and efficiently and improve the overall results. These are principles we apply to each engagement with our clients.
We invite to learn more about Evolution’s unique approach to Marketing Research here, or contact us directly to learn about how we can partner with your company to maximize your research efforts.