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10 golden rules of research (14 Mar 18)

Simple, but important points to bear in mind

Being handed responsibility for a research or customer feedback project is pretty common these days.

You have probably been asked to run one yourself recently.

We have become so interested in what people think of the services we provide that we are continually researching their views. I am sure your organisation is no exception.

But as you will have discovered, being in charge is one thing. Planning and managing such a project of this type successfully is another kettle of fish.

Here are 10 things to bear in mind.

1.   Be clear about what research can and can’t do.  Don’t expect the impossible.

2   Get the right people involved from the start and get commitment to the project from the outset. People are more likely to listen to you, and less likely to question results, if they have been involved in developing the research project in some way.

3   Don’t for one minute think everyone is as fascinated as you by your research. The first thing to remember is that just because you find something interesting, that doesn't mean other people will. Most people find research methodology a crashing bore. They do however want to know what it means for them.

4   Set clear objectives for your project which you can then monitor

5   Try a gestimate questionnaire where your stakeholders try to work out what the results might be in advance and decide what action they would want to take depending on the results. This helps avoid the situation where people say they knew what the results would be anyway, so why did we bother doing the research in the first place?

6   Only collect usable data and don’t bother with “It would be nice to know data”.

7   Be prepared for the unexpected and to manage changes in what you seek to achieve
8   Be open about the limitations of your findings

9   Don’t make claims that exceed what the findings demonstrate although speculation which is clearly identified is fine

10 As soon as possible after the end of the project, make an assessment of its success, both in terms of the quality of the data collected and its usefulness to the organisation

And a final thought. If you are commissioning a researcher remember your relationship is one of co-operation as well as control. It shouldn’t be a cosy relationship where you aren't in charge 

Best wishes


PS If any of the topics that I write you about interests you why not run an in house course on the topic? Email me at rod@rodlaird.co.uk or phone 01494 872 836 or tweet me at @rodlaird

PPS Our one day workshop Data analysis for accidental analysts runs at Euston, London on the 25 April 2018. Email me at rod@rodlaird.co.uk to book places or to run it in house.  


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