Arriving Yesterday: A New Era of Research


We all know this. Response rates continue to decline despite all efforts to improve them. We’re working on taking advantage of rich media questions that make the survey taking experience more fun. We’re working on cell phone surveys so that some surveys can be moved into a different, possibly more engaging, format. We’re developing communities and social networks to keep survey responders happy.

This is all good stuff and it’s important, but will it be enough? Will this keep our industry afloat?

It seems to me that social media has ushered in a new era of research. It didn’t start with researchers and we didn’t ask for it. But it’s here.

This new world has lots of good stuff in it. There is no such thing as declining response rates. There are no order effects, no question biases, no leading statements, no interviewer effects. There aren’t even any incentive costs, though let’s not count that out just yet.

What it does have is millions upon millions of unprompted, genuine opinions about the most minuscule and the most topical issues. It has opinions from people who’ve never answered an online survey before, and from people who gave up answering online surveys ages ago. It has opinions from chat leaders and early adopters, influencers and thought leaders. It has breaking issues, ongoing issues, and issues we never even knew were issues.

Of course, it means that we’ve got a ton of new issues to work through but for someone, like me, who loves the challenge of research on research, thing is just more good news.

It sounds to me like research using social media has a ton of advantages. So you might as well come along for the ride because the train is moving forward whether you like it or not.

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One response

  1. This is a great article! This is exactly what I am thinking. Now I am strugling to firgure out how to do it, i.e., formulating social media research. There are a lot of discussion on social media as marketing tool. But we, marketing researcher needs to focus on socila media as research tool. I know that there are already the blog research, text mining, community panel survey etc. I try to find more…this year.

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