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A Quality Research Must: Make Research Participants Feel Valued

Paris Draheim

August 11, 2017

Written by Ryan Jantz on July 14, 2017

As I mentioned in my blog last week on panel management, the advantages of a well-maintained panel affect the quality of survey results, both from a researcher perspective and from a research participant perspective.

For a researcher, solid panel management helps authenticate panelists, allows gathering information about them over time, and enables monitoring their behavior and response rates as well as tracking the number of surveys they participate in. It also ensures the panel is used only for research purposes. It supports overall quality in terms of the depth and breadth of panelists available to answer questions, and enables a researcher to know they are collecting information from people who are the right fit for the type of research being conducted. Also, it means they are not over-surveyed – which compromises quality – and are not professional survey takers.

From the participant perspective, panel management ensures survey takers are rewarded fairly for their participation and that they are being asked to take surveys that relate uniquely to them so that:

  1. Their time is not wasted – for example, by avoiding repetitive questions that duplicate profiling questions (age, gender, occupation, etc.)
  2. The survey matches cultural values, behaviors, etc., of the person taking the survey.

With the goal of market research being to gather data to drive informed decisions, the research industry cannot afford to overlook the well-being of research participants.

If researchers don’t adhere to treating survey takers properly, they risk collecting inaccurate data, and, therefore, jeopardize important decision-making ordinarily based on vetted and accurate information.

The recent Consumer Participation in Research (CPR) Report by GreenBook explores the impact of poorly designed surveys on research quality, and research participants’ views of research.

According to Leonard Murphy from GreenBook, “People have a choice on how they spend their time, and if we are asking for some of that time and don’t make it a good experience then we run the risk of becoming like that friend or family member who always is asking for a favor of some kind (that we don’t want to do), so we just start ignoring them as much as possible. Or even worse, research starts to be equated with other unpleasant things like going to the DMV, preparing taxes, dental appointments, or cleaning cat litter boxes!”

To combat this, Research Now has incorporated the viewpoints of both the research participants and the researchers into our Total Research Quality™ System, which aims to preserve panelist experience. Our system is comprehensive, including tools, metrics, procedures, and policies across the panelist lifecycle of each panelist and every completed project to validate the accuracy, consistency, and reliability of the data collected.

It not only ensures both researchers and the participants gain positive experiences from market research, but that the subsequent data yields quality results. Which, in my opinion, is a win-win for all.

This blog is part 5 of a 7-part blog series by Research Now. To check out parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, click the hyperlinks.

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