4. Fourth, these days most studies are shorter than they used to be.
So if you have memories of really long, painful questionnaires, don’t worry, the industry has figured out that the longer the survey the lower the quality of the data they get. Most studies don’t run longer than 15 minutes and the research industry is working hard to push that down even further.
But some studies are complex and involved, and if they have a long study for you, you should be warned, given a higher incentive, and be allowed to finish the survey in more than one sitting. And it had better be relevant to you.
5. They can tell when someone is bored and speeds through a survey and they can spot inconsistent answers.
So if you try to “cheat” your survey would be tossed. If you are in a formal online research panel, you might get a warning or be tossed from the panel. If you don’t want to do the survey, don’t do it. If you do but don’t have time right then, wait until later to complete it.
6. Ideally, doing a survey should be interesting and stimulating to the respondent and very useful to the manufacturer or service provider who sponsored it.
The data is sliced and diced into groups by demographic and behavioral clusters, and nothing is ever tied back to an individual. Important decision are made about product features, pricing, packaging and advertising, and these can, cumulatively, be good for consumers, businesses and our economy overall.
7. Few things are hated as much as Robo-calls, and the research industry frowns upon them, but some legitimate research firms (particularly those doing political work) will use them to try to keep the costs down.
People love to do political polls, so they figure the desire to have your opinions heard will counterbalance the annoyance of the robo-call.
But harking back to rule one, if they ask you for money or are clearly pushing one candidate or idea, then this is NOT legitimate research and is either what is called a push-poll (fake research designed to influence your views) or a really deceitful sales or fundraising effort.
Don’t fall for it.
Hang up on them and do NOT reward them with a contribution even if you support their ostensible cause because that will only encourage them, plus you don’t really know if they are who they say they are.
In the era where false information is aggressively pushed out there, you have to know there are bad guys just playing the system, and you don’t want to be caught in their web.
Research, including business-to-business research, is an important piece in our complex economy. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and it helps drive our multi-trillion dollar GDP by giving intelligence and feedback to companies so they don’t operate by the seat of their pants but instead they rely on your voice, your opinions and your interests.
I hope you participate when you can and contribute your very important points of view.
You can make a difference.
About the author
Carlos E. Garcia, born to Mexican immigrant parents, grew up in East Los Angeles and attended Pomona College, UC Berkeley and National University (BA, MA and MBA respectively). He has over thirty years of experience in the field of US Hispanic consumer research, twenty one years at the helm of his own company, Garcia Research. Most recently SVP at GfK: Knowledge Networks, where he headed up their Hispanic research efforts. He's gone full circle and now back at the helm of Garcia Research, a Hispanic market and Multicultural-focused research firm.Website