Buying a madetomeasure research survey is just like buying a madetomeasure suit

The suit The research survey

People decide to get a new suit when the old one wears out, or there is a special occasion or a new fashion is introduced. They may decide to get a quote from a tailor. This tailor will ask:

1. What is the suit for?

2. Let us take your measurements.

3. Did you have any particular style in mind?

4. Did you have any particular colour in mind?

Organizations decide to use research when things go wrong, or they decide to enter a new market, or launch a new product. They may decide to get a quote from a research agency. The agency will ask:

■ How will the data be collected?

■ Who will provide the data?

5. Did you have any particular material in mind?

6. Did you have any particular cutter in mind?

7. Should it be machine-stitched or hand-stitched?

8. Will he give the job to the tailor, or decide to get it done at home? Tailor-made or hand-made? Depends on cost, how big a job it is, and how good a job he could get done at home.

9. Will the suit be worn?

10. Will the client like it, and get another one, or decide something was wrong with it that should be changed next time: the colour or material, perhaps. If it's bad enough, maybe the client will change the tailor!

■ How will the questions be asked?

■ Who will ask the questions?

■ How will the answers be processed?

■ Will they give the job to a research agency, or get it done within the organization?

Agency job or in-house job? Depends on cost, how big the job is, and how much relevant expertise there is in-house.

■ What will be learned from the process?

■ What action will result?

■ Was it a good piece of research or not? Should the sampling procedure be improved, or the questionnaire? Should the research agency be used again?

In buying a suit, the client decides what he wants the suit for, and the measurements will fit him closely, although the tailor will measure up. He is likely to take the tailor's advice on technical aspects of the suit, although it helps to know something about these things if you're going to get a good job, say on material qualities. Whether it's worn when it arrives depends on whether it's really what was wanted, and both the client and the tailor will learn from the experience. Whether a tailor is really necessary depends on whether professional expertise is worth paying for.

In buying research, the client defines the problem and the data that will be needed to fit the problem, although the research agency may suggest data requirements. The client will probably take the agency's advice on technical aspects of the survey, although it helps to know something about these things if you're going to get a good job, say on data collection methods or questionnaire design. Whether the survey results are used in decision making depends on whether they are really what was needed, and both the client and the agency will learn from the experience. Whether an agency is really necessary depends on whether professional expertise is worth paying for.

Team LiB

Online Survey Champion

Online Survey Champion

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