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Entries in traditional research (2)


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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