Recipes for Tasty Research Reports: Liz Van Patten #QRCA #MRX

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Welcome to this series of live blogs from the QRCA conference in Montreal. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

Baker’s Dozen: Recipes for Tasty, Filling Research Reports
Presenter: Liz Van Patten

  • Ask clients how the report will be used, what are the true goals and objectives of the project, where does this work fit in with everything else you are doing?
  • Clients don’t have the time to read through a 40 page report
  • Do you need a report or a presentation?
  • Documents are good for preparing the team ahead of the discussion
  • Presentations are for focusing on the key takeaways
  • Think about splitting your work into the part that is the document and the part that is the presentation
  • Use the notes section of ppt to have both the image and the full detail available
  • Useful reports are information pyramids – Findings, headlines, insights. Different people want different parts of the pyramid.
  • Start writing before the fieldwork begins. It’s easy to write and it’s a refresher so you keep the objectives in mind.
  • Get a head start with debriefs. Do the daily debriefs so you and the client remain on the same page throughout.
  • Tell a compelling story.  Don’t be guilty of doing a data dump. What’s the relevance?
  • Just don’t point out “number here, number there, half a pie here, half a pie there”
  • Select findings that support your study. Resist including everything. Focus on the objectives. Avoid tangents. [hm… these idea make me nervous. Sounds almost like ignore things that could be important.]
  • Incorporate your own unique insights.
  • Make information easy to access. Write headlines not labels. Make it easy to scan all the headlines in ten minutes and know exactly what is going on. Headlines are one key idea that the rest of the slide will support.
  • Craft insights that inspire action. Make them action oriented rather than simple observations. Make them recommendations.
  • What is an insight? Below the surface, not common knowledge, leads to new opportunities. Go beyond the objectives. How much more creative can you be?
  • Visualize your insights. Look for metaphors and visuals so that they are more memorable. Find a common theme that works for the whole presentation. Stay on one theme.
  • Use visual emphasis to highlight insights – bold fonts, coloured fonts, call-outs, colored boxes
  • Highlight the findings that support the insights. Make them easy to find. Think about the ten minute rule. e.g., the first sentence of every paragraph in a different color – then you can use those sentences as the table of contents.
  • Check out
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