How we do our research

Our methodology for defining, designing, and deploying market research projects has been refined over years of work with our clients. Our structure ensures that the projects we perform are always fit for purpose, robust, complete, and delivered on time

Every project goes through the same rigorous process, meaning that all our research is the best it can possibly be

Defining the research

At the start of every project, we work with our clients to ensure a mutual understanding of what needs to be achieved from the research. We consider what sort of market research findings may be most appropriate for our clients and how the research will be different to any other publicly available information

Part of this involves thinking about what type of respondent is appropriate to interview given the objectives of the research, and if they need particular skills, experiences, or knowledge in order to participate. We examine the total population of that type of respondent, calculate what would be a representative number of interviews to perform, and create a detailed process to ensure that only the right people will take part in the research

And we always think of our client’s aims throughout the process. No matter what channels the research might be released through, we consider the sort of results that would most fit those requirements

Building the right questionnaire

Every research project we perform is unique, which means every questionnaire is thought through in detail

Every client approaches market research in a different way, so we don't have a fixed way of building a questionnaire. We work to our client’s needs and experience, often using their ideas to start to build possible questions or topic areas, but sometimes starting with a blank page and helping them to define what questions and subjects will work best

Part of that process involves thinking about the people who will take the survey. Respondents give better responses when they’re well engaged, approached respectfully, and the design considers how long and challenging the survey may be

Testing the research

Before committing to hundreds or even thousands of interviews, we test the question set to ensure that it works as expected

We ask a handful of respondents to complete the survey and collect their feedback. Could they give every possible answer? Was the experience of taking the survey good or frustrating? Does the questionnaire make assumptions that aren’t true?

We consider this feedback as well as the data itself, often sharing it with our clients to allow us all to be happy that the questions are right and producing compelling data. If it’s not working, we work as a team to agree on the most appropriate changes to make the survey better. It’s only when everyone is happy – us, the respondents, and our clients – that we begin full-scale interviewing

Collecting the interviews

Using industry-leading survey software, we invite the right respondents to complete the survey, usually either online or via telephone. Respondents are incentivised for their time and expertise, and have the option to opt out of the research at any time in line with the Market Research Society's Code of Conduct

In addition to our own panel of professionals and decision makers, we partner with a number of specialist and trusted panel providers to ensure that we have worldwide access to a comprehensive range of business and IT professionals, as well as office workers, consumers, and every other demographic too

We look at the responses as they come through the survey to ensure they’re always appropriate, that the project is progressing as it should, and the data is totally representative of the market being researched

Checking the data

Before we even start analysing the results, we forensically look at the raw data and how each person has completed the survey. We work tirelessly to ensure that every survey response is reliable

All free text answers are checked for sense, in their native language if necessary. The time a respondent takes to complete the survey is tracked, and anyone spending too little time on the survey to have comprehended the questions is removed. We look for patterns in answers between questions as well, so those who are simply clicking through are not included in the final results

And as an added layer of quality assurance, we use digital fingerprinting software to safeguard against duplicate participants and make sure that every interview in the research is unique

Finally, this process is by no means set in stone. The team is always refining our approach to make sure we achieve best practice, and we often update our standard way of operating as new technologies, methodologies, and experiences allow