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Entries in traditional research (3)


Health Care Embraces Panel Research

Hospitals and health systems are embracing new ways to improve patient engagement and communication by using panel-based research techniques.

The way people communicate is changing rapidly. Almost all households have access to the Internet. Smartphone and tablet use is widespread. Patients want to communicate with service organizations they trust and they want to do it at times that are convenient for them. Panel research allows this to happen.

Panel research uses web-based research tools. Customers are invited by email to participate in online surveys. Participants are asked if they want to continue to participate in future research. Typically, 60 to 70 percent say yes. This group forms the panel for future research.

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Online Research Works If Done Right

When conducted correctly, online research can accurately collect opinions among voters, the general population and consumers.

Recently, New York Times reporter Nate Silver took to task an online voter survey conducted in South Carolina. Before Citing a Poll, Read the Fine Print.

Yes, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is an appropriate cautionary note for any research. But what factors should decision-makers look for to determine if an online survey is valid or not.

CFM has found the following are key elements to conducting successful and accurate online studies.

  • Cast a wide net for emails. For general population surveys we collect emails addresses from a variety of valid sources, such as e-billing, e-newsletters, website registrations and existing online panels. Using multiple sources for email addresses makes the final email list representative of the community.
  • Diversify sources. If appropriate, use several online panels for community surveys. Each panel has its strengths and weaknesses. Using several sources helps avoid potential biases inherent in all commercial panels.

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Cats, Dogs and Research

Some would cry blasphemy. Declare mass hysteria. Dogs and cats living together! It reminds me of Ghostbusters. (Click to view clip from the film.)

That is what traditionalist would say about combining online research with traditional research.

But thinking outside the box helps clients talk with target audiences and get the information they need for good decisions.

For several years, CFM has used Facebook and Craigslist to recruit younger people to live focus groups. A majority of 18 to 34 year olds don’t have landlines. Cell phone numbers are difficult to get. We find using social media and “want ads,” combined with online screening questions and telephone vetting, get the right people to the focus group table.

With CFM panel-research techniques, clients can target specific people using survey results and emails. Recently, a client wanted to test a new product. We had already developed a panel of customers who were willing to participate in research using online surveys. From that database, we identified 180 people who qualified based on eight criteria — try that with traditional methods and check the costs. We sent one email invitation and offered a $60 honorarium. More than 50 people wanted to attend and 10 more wrote to say they couldn’t due to schedule conflicts.

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