It’s hard not to think about setting goals for yourself around the beginning of the year. Everything just seems shiny, new and refreshed – from planning budgets to PTO allowances. It’s natural to be tempted to say, “I’m getting fit this year” or “I’m not going to wear PJ bottoms on Zoom calls anymore.” But let’s be realistic – setting arguably unrealistic goals at an arbitrary time of year doesn’t often lead to success. In fact, according to US News and World Report, a reported 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail as early as mid-February.
As I thought about this stat, I decided to try to find a better resolution alternative – instead of “reinvention,” why not use “refinement” to improve both personally and professionally this year? Surely, incremental changes vs. dramatic shifts would provide a more effective and long-lasting way to elevate the quality of our work (and lifestyle) in 2023. Let’s start with best practices for primary research efforts.
Research studies play a significant role in our ability to generate insights for our clients. And the key to success is ensuring that the right respondents are participating – an increasingly difficult task, as incentive-seeking click farms have escalated their abilities and sophistication in circumventing screening and other security measures. Refinement #1: Improve safeguards and quality control measures such as adding “trick” questions, asking those “trick” questions in multiple formats, and performing daily “cleansing” of the data – by monitoring responses and confirming that open-ended answers are viable.
Another key to generating great insights is keeping participants engaged by recognizing them appropriately (so they don’t choose to exit the survey before completion. Of course, there is no single way to reflect every individual’s preference, but you can uplevel demographic and classification survey questions with DEI at the forefront. Refinement #2: Develop a more representative set of survey responses, allowing for multiple answers within each question, and always providing an opportunity for each respondent to answer in their own words.
Lastly, be mindful of your survey respondent’s time and contribution. Design each research project in a way that respects your participant’s time commitment and acknowledges the valuable data they are providing. Refinement #3: Strive to cap survey completion times at 10 minutes and limit required open-ended questions to two or three whenever possible. Review bounce rates and feedback to evaluate the success of the survey and adjust if necessary.
It’s a busy world, attention spans are stretched, and we all want work-life balance. Which reminds me – it’s time for me to hit the gym I just joined and trade my PJ bottoms in for jeans.
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