Best PracticesMarket Research

Principles of Remarkable Research: Part 8 of 20

Remarkable Research is Not About Abandoning Proven Methods

Remarkable research is not about replacing well-tested, proven methodologies (such as surveys and focus groups). It’s often about augmenting them. Alas, I see many cases where people eagerly embrace the “hot-new-thing.” I understand the temptation: it can help with research audiences (internal or external clients) who may find newer methods more interesting than the results of another “boring” survey. In reality, cool new methods are often best at augmenting the tried and true, but not always for replacing them.

  • Here’s a great example: I recently worked with a client who used an idea management platform to collect preliminary feedback on some product enhancements. This led to an amazingly well planned survey as a Phase 2. Bonus: because we were able to weed out several ideas in Phase 1, the survey was nice and short—which made for a compelling survey invitation to his in-house panel (invitations to a 5-minute survey generally out-perform those to a 15-minute one).

I stand by the old aphorism: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So before you abandon proven methods, do some serious pilot projects first.

[This is the eighth article in a series of 20 mini-posts titled, “Principles of Remarkable Research.” Don’t want to miss this series? Subscribe to our blog via email or RSS.]

[New dates have been added for our 4-week class, “Online Research Methods for 2012“, taught in Research Rockstar’s virtual classroom.]


Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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