Bad research

Conducting market research is a dying art, it seems.  I’ve seen a lot of really bad research recently and it worries me.  I’m a bit sad like that.

Here are just a couple of examples of questions from surveys commissioned by significant clients who probably should know better from significant research companies who definitely should know better.  I have loads more.  I’ve been collecting them.  There, I told you I was sad.

What’s wrong with this one?bad question 1

Just try answering it.  You can’t possibly know this information without having kept a diary on the subject for the 30 days in question (which would be a better way to get the information, no?)

What about this one?

bad question 2

This one’s a bit more insidious, because you might be tempted to have a stab.  But it’s obvious we don’t know how far we are influenced by these things.  Imagining we do is a bit worrying.  Any worthwhile basic training in research would tell you that very early on.

In real life, respondents will do their best to answer, but the data will be nonsense.  It will be used as though it were the truth.  Oh dear.

The problem is that marketers in some companies have seemingly lost the instinct for research. Like understanding that it’s more about designing experiments than it is about asking questions.  It seems the modern way is to write down what question we need to answer – like what influences our target audience – and simply ask them.

Come on chaps.  We can do better than this.


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