It’s the time of year when people like to put together lists of what they think will transpire over the next year. The lists are thoughtful and inspirational but I wonder – are we ready to work on next year’s list if we haven’t finished last year’s list. So here is my list of the Top 6 Unpredictions. 6 because that’s just as pretty a number as 10 and unpredictions because no one had better predict that one of these will be new in 2011.
- Sample sizes will become important. Where 30 or 100 or 300 was once tolerable, we will realize that most of the statistical tests we perform, when applied to our PREdetermined hypotheses, require samples of at least 700 or more to achieve significance.
- Where we once sought p values less than 0.05, we will seek values that are less than 0.00001, particularly when reading data tabulation reports that are hundreds of pages long.
- We will happily realize that qual is an essential partner of quant, that surveys blend harmoniously with social media research, and that quality focus groups can never be replaced, not even via online methods.
- Counting will be superseded by research. We had great fun stepping away from research this year to read tweets and admire buzz charts but back to work we will go in 2011.
- We will focus on respecting our research contributors, whether by creating shorter quality surveys, keeping focus groups to reasonable lengths, and refraining from sharing personally identifiable information in social media research. Client needs do not come first. Research contributor respect comes first.
- We will completely abandon all forms of 3D charts, having realized that they misrepresent data and mislead clients. Pretty will no longer trump clarity and pie is for eating.