What to Expect If You Are Contacted to Participate in Research

small business research study

Research, including business-to-business research, is an important piece in our complex economy.


Editor’s note: This is part one of a two part series. This part will cover small business owners and Quantitative Surveys. Part two: Small Business Research Part 2 – Qualitative – Focus Groups .

These days people are pretty much used to seeing elements of research around them. 

You can’t go to a fast food joint or a grocery store, take your car in for service or make a call to customer service without being asked to fill out a customer satisfaction survey.  Even though I am a professional in the field, I only fill them out if I feel there was something I wanted to say about the good or bad service I received or if it was a high-value interaction. 

But I officially encourage people to fill them out because they do ultimately make a difference in how companies run themselves.  If you don’t tell them their service is bad, then they will continue their bad practices. 

Many people get calls or email invites to participate in online quantitative research projects, and this is a bit harder for people to understand because they don’t’ know how these things work or what to expect.

Small business owners are a particularly interesting target for what is called B2B research – business-to-business.  So you might be asked to do a survey from time to time or even to join a panel to do surveys on a regular basis. 

So what should you look out for? Here are seven insights on what to expect:

1.  First rule of thumb is to make sure that absolutely nothing is being sold to you. 

If someone is using research as a ploy to get you to buy something, do NOT trust them and don’t buy it, whatever it might be. 

They are breaking every rule in the book and I would bet that whatever they are selling is not what it appears to be.  If they will be deceptive to try to win your business, imagine how much worse they’ll treat you once you’re already in their clutches. 

2.   Second rule is to understand that even if you want to participate, you might not qualify for participation and there really is no good reason to fudge your behaviors, interests or preferences to try to game the system. 

Your reality will emerge through the process and your data will be useless to those who invited you and you will be bored answering questions that weren’t meant for you in the first place. 

So don’t be offended if you are “screened out” right away – there is no reason to take it personally.  You are either the owner of a construction firm or you’re not.  You are either a business owner who just took out a line of credit to help with receivables or you’re not.  You are either in the market for a panel truck for your firm or you’re not.

3.   Third, you can also be screened out if you happen to work in a related field. 

Again, if the study is about lines of credit and you work for a bank, you probably know too much about the topic and have a preference for your own employer’s products, so don’t fake it. 

Because in a legitimate quantitative survey, you will be asked questions you should be able to answer because you have been screened to be the right kind of person who engages in the professional, purchase or behavioral patterns that fit the topic. 

Next page- Research insights #4 through #7 and takeaway.


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