Research doesn’t have to be this big daunting and expensive task, Strategic planner and researcher Thomas McGillick takes B&T through how agencies can make research affordable and practical.
Hiring a data specialist to pour over whatever numbers the client can provide isn’t the only way to go about catering to this increasing appetite for quantification.
The trade off between the prohibitive cost and timeframe of rigorous research, and the underwhelming product of ad hoc methodologies means agencies still don’t do as much of their own research as would benefit them.
The impracticality of robust research, as far as agencies are concerned, is driven by three factors:
- The cost of recruiting the respondents
- The cost of incentivising the respondents
- The time it takes to design and conduct
So the challenge then, is to design research that avoids these impracticalities, but also yields useable results.
Instead of just postulating, I’ve conducted two research projects, each project ignored traditional cost structures and demonstrated how rigorous research can be affordable for agencies.
Here’s how I approached each of those three impracticalities:
Cost of recruitment
This is a pretty straightforward one. For whatever defines us as a individual, there is an online community that can be tapped for research respondents. My study recruited respondents through Yik Yak and Reddit. I had 20 responses within two hours, and by the time I chose the six to interview, I’d had a fairly lengthy email correspondence with each one.
Cost of incentivising the respondents
Another unavoidable cost if your research is to be useful and at all valuable. Saving here is about finding a way to pay by the question rather than by the respondent. If you have 10 questions to ask an cohort of 1000, and I have five questions, let’s split the cost of those 1000 incentives into 15 parts and only pay for what we need.
The time it takes to design and conduct
So often, the first half of a large research debrief will filled with answers to category questions that don’t offer value for money. We shouldn’t have to ask these Usage and attitudinal questions every time. Wouldn’t it be better if those questions were already answered, and commissioning research meant laying our own questions over the top of that?