Whose Answers Are They Anyway?
We recently received one of those short (?) questionnaires that will only
take a few minutes (?) of your time, questionnaires sent through the mail.
The so-called short questionnaire contained two parts. The first
part was a 248-question survey. The second part was contained in an
envelope that was not to be opened until after completing the first questionnaire.
Yes, sure, no one will open it before completing the first questionnaire.
[Note: If it is important that they do not open it prior to the
completion of the first questionnaire, why not use a second mailing? Or
is it not really that important?]
I have serious questions about this type of research where we seem to
strive to get as many numbers as possible for our dollar. I did say
"numbers" and not information. I feel that there is a diminishing
return as it relates to the number of questions and time spent by the respondent
on a project. We get more numbers but do we really get more information
or is it disinformation?
But my most important concern is that the responses are not really those
of the respondent. In this case there were questions about things
- We never thought of.
- We never considered.
- We never knew of
Given the increased awareness of possibilities, are the responses
attributed to the thinking and experiences of the respondent or that of the
researcher? Or is it somewhere in between? Or is it the thinking
of someone who does not really exist?
I believe the same problem exists, to some extent, in the responses to
the seven concepts. The respondent when responding to the first concept
is making judgments based on his/her experiences (and maybe the biases of
the previous questionnaire). But after the first concept, how does
the respondent judge the second concept without including the thoughts just
planted via the first concept? I don't think they can. Their
world has a new element inserted through the first concept. By the
time the respondent reaches the seventh concept the product category world
is well beyond the respondent's world of today.
In the end, who if anyone, does the evaluation belong to? Are the
data reliable? Are the data valid? Is it really data or some
set of fictional thoughts? I don't even like calling it research, do
I consider it a really great compliment.
Last week I got a call from Dr. Eric Schulz, a former Procter &
Gamble, Coca Cola & Disney employee and now a marketing consultant as
well as a professor at the University of Utah. He informed me that the
are recommended reading for the MBA students at the University.
I really appreciate the recommendation and the fact that there is importance
in the Views
other than keeping the old man off the street
and out of my wife's hair.
While I'm at it, I would like to thank Dr. Steve Hellebusch of Hellebusch
Research & Consulting and professor at Xavier University as well as
the Xavier MBA Students for allowing me to present my ideas on market research
in their class last week.
Sponsor: Sorensen Associates Inc
Portland, OR 800.542.4321
Minneapolis, MN 888.616.0123
The In-Store Research Company -- Dedicated to the relentless pursuit
of - WHY?