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Pack Your Bags: 9 Tips for Success on your Research Adventure

As summer comes to a close, our family vacation is all too clear in my mind. Our bags were packed and loaded in the minivan. The cooler was loaded with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. A DVD was cued up, ready to keep the toddlers quiet in the back seat. The gas tank was full, and we were on our way to make some memories!

But there were a few problems. After 5 hours of driving, we realized that we were headed in the right general direction, but not on the right highway, adding another 3 hours to our drive. After another delay due to a flat tire, we arrived at our destination only to find out that the hotel had given us a room with 1 king bed to accommodate our 2 adults and 4 kids. To top this off, we were given a wonderful view of the parking lot.

It seemed that things couldn’t get much worse. It was at this point that we discovered the park we were going to visit was sold out for the entire week. We ultimately found a way to make the vacation work and deliver some memories, but clearly not the same memories we wanted to make when we set up on this trip.

Too often, research projects can fall into the same traps. Fortunately, there are a few things we can do together to make sure your survey arrives safely at the desired destination.

9 tips when designing and executing a survey

  1. Clearly and succinctly state the business needs and objectives. Ensure that everyone who touches the project (from coders to analysts to partners) is aware of the objectives.
  2. Have at least a good idea of incidence rate and the implications when the incidence rate is lower than expected. We can help obtain this number if needed.
  3. Have a clear understanding of who should be included and excluded from the study. Sometimes it’s best to pre-test this with people not associated with the study to obtain their perspective.
  4. Select the correct sample sources.  Selecting the wrong partner could have an impact on price, timing, and quality. For more information on the importance of this, click here.
  5. Design the questionnaire for all devices that will be included in the study.  Give everyone a chance to take the survey on the device of their choice.
  6. Spend extra time on the screener. Design it for the general population – don’t assume that sample partners have perfect targeting.  Ensure you have the ability to remove respondents on poor quality.
  7. Likewise, spend extra time on the questionnaire. Don’t let scope creep extend the LOI and ensure that you have an exhaustive list of options for each question.
  8. Have a strong understanding of the timeline and the implications of something going wrong.
  9. As always, communication with the client is key.

As with so many things in life, from your family vacation to your next market research project… Fail to plan, plan to fail!  With 16 years focused solely on executing high quality online and mobile research, let EMI be your first choice when choosing a sample consultant.


The EMI Team