“If it ain’t broken, why fix it?” – The Problem With Sticking To The Status Quo

“If it ain’t broken, why fix it?” – The Problem With Sticking To The Status Quo

2 April 2014

While we at Northstar and much of the research community in general are able to identify clear trends, draw out compelling narratives and deliver study after study of valid information and actionable insights through the survey medium, the question arises: “if it ain’t broken, why fix it”? 

When the sentence ‘surveys are boring’ was uttered at day two of the 2014 MRS Conference during a session on cooperation and collaboration, I felt a slight heart break comparable to what I could only imagine David Cameron would feel like if ‘politics is boring’ was yelled directly in his face.

Putting my quant researcher hat (along with my pride) aside, this statement, actually on the whole couldn’t be closer to the truth. Slowly. Again. Hitting home.

But while we at Northstar and much of the research community in general are able to identify clear trends, draw out compelling narratives and deliver study after study of valid information and actionable insights through the survey medium, the question arises: if it ain’t broken, why fix it?

We Can Delve That Much Deeper

Contrary to the qualitative notion that quantitative data just scratches at the surface, there is always the potential to draw out more from consumers and get closer to the ‘truth’. You just need a willingness to embrace the alternative (to the traditional online survey) and think about the bigger methodological picture. For example, research based games and online communities successfully de-badge the survey losing the baggage that comes with it.

Less Asking, More Doing

Asking questions is always going to be the essence of all research and asking questions in the somewhat more formulaic manner is sometimes the only and best way. However, as Katia Pallini (Incites Consulting) discussed, allowing individuals ‘to do,’ encompassing a ‘task-based’ research approach, will work wonders to quash the boredom and increase the engagement. Taking this a step further is co-creation, where individuals are given a platform to create, a voice to be heard and encouraged to collaborate with other survey participants. Overall a happy, engaged individual equals a more deliberated and emotional response to your research question.

Don’t Think: ‘Overcomplicated’

Although incorporating gaming into research methodologies may represent new space to some clients, this step towards the unknown does not have to be thought of as a huge step. Games date back to the ancient past. They are integral to society – cross-culturally everyone understands them and enjoys playing them resulting in outputs that offer much richer data.

I am now an even bigger firm believer that all involved with survey design have a moral duty to consumers to do better– why not help them help us? Everyone from researcher to programmer to client must step into consumers’ shoes. Consumer surveys need to come a long way to further maximise returns. The benefits are out there to be reaped – the alternatives need to be more fully embraced, the status quo needs to be broken.

For more information, please contact Lucy Hoang by email at lhoang@northstarhub.com or by phone at +44 (0)20 7259 1770.

Other relevant articles:

http://www.greenbookblog.org/2013/04/08/the-state-of-gamification-in-market-research/

http://www.digitaljournal.com/technology/op-ed-the-spread-of-gamification-to-many-industry-verticals/article/378263

http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2012/aug/15/online-market-research-gamification

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