4 Most Important Factors in Survey Project Design

The bi-annual GRIT report was released by Leonard Murphy at Greenbook last week. As usual, it presents a very telling snapshot of the state of the market research industry. Which issues are important and which are less so. What is hot. And what is not.

The report surveys almost 1,600 individuals who work in market research, 80% suppliers (mostly from MR firms), and 20% buyers (clients). Some of the most interesting results come from the comparison of how both sides view the same issues.

As creators of survey software, the findings that generated the most inter-office conversation were those about what researchers felt mattered most in research project design. Specifically, this summary bar chart of the more interesting findings of respondents’ Top 2 most important factors:

Source: Greenbook GRIT Report Q3-Q4 2016 (pg. 26)

1. Research Trustworthiness

Most important to both suppliers and clients is how trustworthy the research is. And rightfully so – that’s what clients are paying for, and the insights generated are what will lead to organizational shifts.

2. Sample Quality

A direct contributor to #1 above, a full half of the supplier and client respondents chose to include in their Top 2 most important factors that the recruited database or panel needs to be of high quality and representative.

3. Respondent Focus

Somewhat surprisingly, there was a steep drop in clients and researchers acknowledging the imjportance of the amount of time that a respondent takes with the research project/survey and the focus they give it. But there were still a quarter of the researchers (and a fifth of the clients) who chose this option in their Top 2. More on this in a moment.

4. Survey Scope Clarity

The only result in the top 4 where more clients selected it than researchers, 26% of clients want to ensure that survey participants have a clear idea of the scope of the project.

Of Concern

As noted in three of the four orange highlight points in the chart above, there was a significant difference in the results that favored the researchers’ Top choice (that the research should be good) compared to those that measured respondent experience.

In addition to the steep drop off before respondent focus and clear communication of project scope, responses addressing respondent compensation and satisfaction indicators received less than 10% of researcher responses, and less than 5% of client responses! (see last three answers in chart above)

As Murphy states, “It seems the relationship between researchers and research participants has become very one-sided – what we expect from participants is not aligned with what we feel our obligations are to them.”

If you build it, they will come. Build great surveys. Communicate well with your respondents, and treat them with the respect they deserve. By keeping your respondents satisfied, you will get better results. We need to shift our focus outwards and create the kinds of survey projects that foster great results.

Download the full GRIT report HERE – it’s free and jam-packed with rich industry insights.

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