Be a Winner-Argue with Yourself
November 10, 2005
- by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II(The Second Beginning) E-Mail: email@example.com
I don't think we argue with ourselves enough. All too often when a problem comes across our desk, we immediately look back into our records to find a similar study and replicate it. It is what in the old days we called “cut and paste.” It is my belief that we do not stop to consider the objective of the study, and the potential strategies for resolution. Does this sound like a Business Plan for the study? That is, should we think through the objective, goals, strategies and measures required for resolution? I think so.
Consider a recent peanut butter test that was being presented. The only thing mentioned was that the requestor wanted to evaluate the flavor of a new peanut butter. First question, the purpose, is it a replacement for a current peanut butter? Is it a new product to be placed on the market? Are we talking about quality control or product acceptance? The answers to these questions dictate who are to be the participants in the study and how the study should be conducted. Should the participants be current eaters of the peanut butter or peanut butter eaters in general? Should the study include the Female Head of the Household, children, or both? Should adult males be involved? Are we talking about taste testing or use testing?
What testing protocols should be involved, discrimination testing such as duo trio, triangle difference, double triangle or pair repeat testing? Or should we be conducting a choice protocol such as a pair test? Or should we be using an evaluation protocol such as a monadic design?
How should the participants test the peanut butter flavor? Should they taste it from a spoon or on bread or crackers? Should the person test the peanut butter as they would normally use peanut butter?
When and where you test can also be significant under certain circumstances. Even how many samples a respondent should sample in a taste test environment is of importance.
The question of how many samples brought to mind a real life test I participated in some years ago after my retirement. An organization I belong to was recruited to supply 25 adult males for a central location study. Adult males were described as being between 18 and 55 years of age. They were also to be beer drinkers. Our session at the CLT was set for 90 minutes. During this 90 minutes we were presented with 12 duo trio tests, resulting in each person sampling 36 glasses of beer. At the end of this session, if you wanted to do any arguing you would not be limited to arguing with yourself. The environment was ripe with possibilities, 25 men who had just sampled 36 glasses of beer. Before designing this research project, someone should have been arguing with themselves.
It is best to start early arguing with yourself before you end up arguing with your boss or your client. Be a winner by arguing with yourself early and often. Play the devil's advocate, take different sides.
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