Not all samples are created equal

Not all samples are created equal

  • April 23, 2018

One of the most important assets of a market researcher is the people that are used for research. Whether they are quantitative survey respondents or qualitative participants, research will fail if the people and responses are not of the highest quality.

Yet this is one area where much of the industry often turns a blind eye. Survey samples are treated as a commodity and outsourced to the lowest bidder. This race to the bottom leads to poor quality control, with people able to complete surveys multiple times, or sit and complete survey after survey.

No-one would consider running focus groups where people completed one, then went straight to the next room for another, and another, and so on. Yet with surveys, too often none of this is questioned as long as the survey is completed.

This problem is worsened when researchers try to extract too much from people through long, repetitive, or complicated surveys, or force them to complete surveys that aren’t optimized for mobile.

The result of all this is that it is too easy to produce research based on a poor sample. And ultimately clients may be making decisions based on poor quality data.

So what is the solution?

Not all research panels are created equal, and at Edentify most of our research is conducted through our exclusive Caféstudy research community to ensure you can trust the data we collect. When required, we work with a range of sample providers and select these based on whichever is best suited to the needs of each project.

Here are a few guidelines to follow when managing a research panel:

1. Treat them like people, not as numbers. It is important to ensure that people are not “over-researched” to the point where they are fatigued and treat the research as simply a financial transaction, but instead help them see that they are making a valuable contribution.

2. Keep your studies easy and fun. By ensuring that surveys work on all platforms, and keeping them simple, fun, and as easy as possible to complete, we know that our community members want to engage with our research.

3. Reward them fairly. As the saying goes, if you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys. Allowing people to earn enough to make it worthwhile for them, and also making it easy to get their hands on their money (via Paypal for example) will keep people coming back.