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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Michael Francesco Alioto

I appreciate your comments, Ray. Indeed, our intent was to shed light on the currently existing body of evidence in our industry – not claim a “proof” in the Philosophy of Science or mathematical sense.

Much of the literature surrounding the use of mobile or smartphone devices for survey research is mixed. This study indicated that data can be collected and compiled in multi-mode formats with confidence, which enabled us to support some of the accepted approaches and question others.

But let’s not lose sight of the real issue. While we have solid evidence to support the use of multi-modal platforms for research the question of migration from online to smartphone as a preferred platform is still to be determined. Many of us in the marketing research discipline agree that online surveying has its issues (biases associated with representation, scale uses, artificial interviewing environment, etc.). These issues have become increasingly apparent as the online platform has been less able to solve “puzzles” in the Kuhnian sense of the term. The less puzzles solved, the more we are inclined to view the smartphone platform as a potential replacement for online surveying (assuming that the smartphone platform will be able to solve more of the puzzles identified by the online methodology and other potential platforms, such as social media, etc. are not direct competitors for the next platform paradigm).

The importance of this study for the marketing research industry is that we were able to rigorously test a number of assumptions and items between the two separate platforms. But this is not the end. Similar to your thoughts, we welcome other research agencies to join in rigorously testing data and research elements between the two platforms. Based on our findings, we believe that these additional tests will support the use of smartphones as a valid survey platform.

The critical nature of the future of marketing research surveying is at hand. With technology progressing forward and response rates continuously falling, we need to be able to gather valid and reliable information from our respondents. We stand behind smartphones being a valid avenue to accomplish this goal.
We plan on rolling out the key findings from this study at the MRMW11 conference. Ray, we would love to have you join us and contribute to the debate and good discussion.

Annie

And that's why in academia, it takes ten or twenty replications by different researchers in different countries to prove the same concept before the researchers will even consider that an idea has merit. But the media likes a cool story and cool often wins out over facts.

Lmurphy

Interesting take Ray and good points. I don't know the details on this study, but Dr. Alioto will be sharing the details at the MRMW11 conference including a white paper and will co-presenting with the client at the TMRE. I know those folks well and I am confident that they will address these and other questions in a way that will make us all feel good about the validity of the study.

Mllemire

It's easy to get caught up in the hype when every attempt to dabble in non-traditional market research is met with subjective objection.

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