Once you know what you really want to do, how do you get there? I’ve been asked a few times how I became a research methodologist and can someone else become a methodologist as well. It’s really quite simple. It’s not easy, but it is simple.
The advice I give is don’t wait for someone to offer you a job as a methodologist or to declare that you are a methodologist. If you know what you want, then it is your job to make it happen. No one else.
- If you are a project manager and you want to be a methodologist. Start tweeting about methodology. Share educational white papers and intriguing blog posts that helped you learn about methodology.
- If you’re in report prep and you want to be a methodologist, start a blog about methodology. Share your thoughts and opinions about good and bad methodology in easy to read, weekly or monthly opinion pieces. Be brand and bold and take a stand.
- If you’re a data analyst and you want to be a methodologist, stay a few hours late after work and re-analyze datasets with methodology in mind. Analyze speeding rates by survey topic, straightlining rates by number of grids, random responding by demographics. Then write a paper and share with your colleagues.
No matter what your current role is, you can find a way to incorporate what really excites you into your day. If you do it well, a good boss will find ways for you to expand into that space. And if your current boss doesn’t, one of your Twitter followers or blog readers will. Enjoy your new job!
- Finding the why in your market research results #MRX (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- A Halloween chocolate lesson in nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio data #MRX (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- SAS vs SPSS: Pick one and forever hold your peace #MRX (lovestats.wordpress.com)
I’ve live blogged at a few conferences now and have learned a few things along with way. It all comes down to preparation so here is how I prepare.
- Go online and find the conference schedule at least a day ahead. Copy the session title and speaker names into a draft post for each session you plan to attend. Ideally, the copy paste action will take any hyperlinks with it.
- Find each speaker’s twitter account and include the link to a relevant tweet in the post.
- If you they don’t have a twitter account (many social media experts/mavens/gurus don’t… interesting…), try to find their Linkedin account or personal blog. Same deal, paste a linked image of their account into the post.
- Consider including an introductory message on each post. Indicate the conference, that this is a live blog, that it will probably full of listening errors, yadda, yadda, yadda, don’t blame me or the speaker when I misinterpret what I heard.
- Prepare a list of relevant keywords and paste them into the keyword box for each of the blogs (e.g., the name of the conference, the location, topic). Be sure to include the speaker’s name.
- Once in the conference, sit out of the thick of things. Some people might be distracted by your typing so bug as few people as possible. Unless you’re sitting beside someone you don’t like. Then hunt and peck as loudly as you possibly can.
- Bring your power cord. Even if your netbook has a ten hour battery. it is guaranteed to lose power in about 28 minutes.
- Write your post OFFLINE. I cannot stress this enough. I’ve lost a couple of really good posts because the hotel internet connection broke off mid-talk. Just write your post in Word or Notepad.
- I tend to stop taking notes as soon as the speaker starts to take questions. At this point, I make sure the internet is working, I copy the post into WordPress, add a couple extra keywords, check the spelling, check the links, choose an image, and click submit. If something juicy comes up during question period, I can still add it in.
- And ta dum! This strategy usually means I have a post completed and launched in time to move to the next session.
- Matt Wells and the rise of the live blog (insidewnol.wordpress.com)
- UFC 131 Results: Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young Live Blog (sbnation.com)
- Tony Awards 2011: We’re live-blogging them! (popwatch.ew.com)
Are you excited about the upcoming MRIA annual conference? I am! In just ten days, market researchers from all across Canada, and around the world, will converge on Kelowna, British Columbia to learn, meet, and greet their colleagues. And not only will I present a session on Cell + Survey + SMR Mashups on behalf of Conversition Strategies and Research Now, I have also been appointed by the MRIA as the Chief Blogger of the 2011 conference.
What does that mean? It means I’ll be live blogging every session I attend so that you can hear the main points of each speaker within minutes of the conclusion of each talk. I’ll blog lunch and dinner, as well as the tradeshow, the events, and the hotel. If they serve creme brulee you’ll be among the first to know this essential information. Have a story you’d like me to cover? Tweet or email me and let me know!
I will be paid well for my efforts so don’t worry. I’ll be the first person in line at lunch as well as the person budding ahead of you to take the last pretzel from the snack table.
But, alas, I’m just one person and can’t possibly cover all of the events. That’s where my fellow attendees come in. Raise your hand if you intend to do a little bit of conference blogging yourself. Leave a quick comment below and let’s chat about how we can cover more ground together.
Hopefully, we’ll do a good enough job so that those of you who couldn’t attend just might feel like you’re at the conference in person. And perhaps next year, you’ll have the factual evidence required to convince your boss to let you go.
- Annie Pettit, Chief #MRIA2011 Blogger (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Speed Networking + Reception + Dinner #MRIA2011 (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- French, Funky, and Fun! #MRIA (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Should you blog at conferences? (lovestats.wordpress.com)
- Pettit: Survey + Cell + SMR #MRIA2011 (lovestats.wordpress.com)
You’ve been thinking about doing it, you’ve watched other people do it, and you’ve read the output of someone doing it. But should you? Here is my advice, worth about 18 cents.
You shouldn’t blog conferences because:
1. It’s rude to the speaker
2. It’s distracting for people around you
3. It’s hard to pay complete attention to the speaker
4. The speaker doesn’t like it
Why you should blog conferences:
1. People who are never allowed to attend conferences can experience them
2. People in any time zone can join the conversation through side chats
3. It fills up any free time you may have outside official conference hours
4. It sparks business leads
5. It’s a good way to improve your writing skills
Personally, I’ve chosen to be a conference blogger. I bring a tiny netbook that doesn’t bang into the people beside me. I’m a touch typist so there’s no loud hunting and pecking. I do my best to be discreet. I will change a blog on the request of a speaker (I won’t change an opinion but I will correct or remove it.) When I’m the speaker, I want people to share anything they may have learned from me and on the flip side, I want to share what I’m learning too.
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just have no confidence in your writing skills. That is when you should start a blog. Because the spam comments you will receive will do nothing but make you feel like you are contributing the most amazing information EVER to your industry. Below is just a small sample of the praise I have received from spammers. Feel free to add your own or plagiarize from these!
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The Last Blog Post is an idea set up by Daniel Burstein. His request: “If you had one last blog post to send out to the marketing world, what would you say?” There are already many posts available to read and you can follow them with the Twitter hashtag #LastBlog. Here is my post, albeit sent out to the marketing research world. ***
You have been blessed with the ability to understand research. It is a gift that gives you the ability to make the world a better place in your own unique way. Where some people see reams of numbers swirling in a haze of fear, you see t-test results and chi-square tables and regression equations that make perfect sense. You know how to interpret confidence intervals and sampling error and outliers to come to accurate and meaningful conclusions. You know how to design questionnaires that produce valid numbers and how to select samples that give generalizable results.
Use your gift for the common good. Speak loudly when statistics are being interpreted too strictly, too loosely, or just plain incorrectly. Speak loudly when surveys are too long, too boring, or poorly designed. Speak loudly when samples are selected with little care. Speak loudly when charts and illustrations are being used to entertain instead of educate. Speak loudly when you see our market research industry being wrongly trod upon.
Speak loudly my dear #MRX friends.
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[tweetmeme source=”lovestats” only_single=false]My blog goes through ups and downs. Sometimes I have nothing to say and other times I have ten posts ready at the end of a day. But why do I blog at all?
- Blogging clarifies my thinking. I have tons of ideas but writing them down means I have to think through the arguments carefully so that they become solid. I often find that my positions shift a little or a lot as a result.
- Every blog increases my subject line experiment by a sample size of 1. Will this title put a blip in the reader chart? Will this content put a blip in the comment chart? I love seeing the little blips in the charts and trying to figure out why it happened. Charts are my friends.
- I find like-minded friends. Sometimes I think I have an uncommon opinion but as soon as I post it, lots of people share their ‘me toos!’ What I thought was a risky opinion may actually be a common opinion just waiting to get out. And…I find different minded friends. These folks challenge my opinions and make me think harder. No matter whether I change my mind, my argument and my thought process is better for it.
- I meet people from around the world many of whom I would have never met otherwise, many of whom feel like penpals now. The world seems even smaller now than my pre-blogging days now that I have researcher friends in Australia, Belgium, Israel, and many other countries I have never even been to.
- It’s a good way to practice your writing skills in a small, but regular way. Bit by bit, I can tell that my writing is improving and I can write a lot more, a lot quicker, a lot more coherently.
- I’m really not a social person but this way, I can be. Take note all you introverted and/or shy people.
Why do you blog? Why DON’T you blog?
Read these too
Hey there research blogger,
Wanna play a game? Here’s my proposal. Someone picks a topic and then without any consultation, we each write our own blog on that topic and post it at the same time. Open to suggestions, but let’s say:
- 500 words
- one topic per month
- each person contributes one topic
It would be interesting to see how our perspectives differ. If you’re in, leave me a comment here and we’ll get this started!
*** Update: Game is on! We have five bloggers! The first post will appear December 15. Watch for notices!
Recently, Google was legally forced to identify an anonymous blogger. You can read the newspaper report here.
There are a few anonymous bloggers in the marketing research world. I’m wondering what is so scary about marketing research that they feel compelled to go this route. Are they revealing little known secrets? Not that i’ve seen. Are they revealing unethical behaviour? Nope. So why the fear? I guess I’m just curious why they’ve taken that route.
A kind thank you to Tom for his review of my blog.
“Lovestats: One of the friendliest and most good-natured blogs on the MR circuit, Annie Pettit’s LoveStats mixes solid advice on stats and quant research with quirkier material (like her “Ode To A Pie Chart”)”
Check out Tom’s BlackbeardBlog for the rest of the MR blogs that he likes to read, many of which I enjoy myself.