I received my research organization’s magazine today. Inside were many lovely articles and beautiful charts and tables. I quickly noticed one particular article because of all the charts it had, but the charts are not what caused my fury.
The article was YET ANOTHER one on panel quality. Yes, random responding, straightlining, red herrings. The same topic we’ve been talking about for years and years and years.
Now, I love panel quality as much as the next person and it is an absolutely essential component for every research panel. We know what the features of low quality are and how to spot them and how to remove their effects. We even know the demographics of low quality responders (Ha! Really? We know the demographics of people who aren’t reading the question they’re answering?) But this isn’t the point.
Why do we measure panel quality? Because the surveys we write are so bad, we turn our valuable participants into zombie. They want to answer honestly but we forget to include all the options. They want to share their opinions but we throw wide and long grids at them. They want to help bring better products to market but we write questions about “purchase experience” and “marketing concepts.”
I don’t want to hear about panel quality anymore. It’s been done to death. Low panel quality is OUR fault.
Tell me instead how you’re improving survey quality. How have you convinced clients that shorter is better and simpler is more meaningful? What specific techniques have you used to improve surveys and still generate useful results? Tell me this and I’ll gaze at you with supreme admiration.