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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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Broadly, I agree with this, especially your #5, which has been one of the things I've been railing about for years. 10 minutes of our time learning how to use VLOOKUP in Excel can eliminate the need for most of the screening and demographic questions we keep re-asking the same panelists in survey after survey.

Where I disagree is on the time frame: I think if it takes us twenty more years to stop asking surveys that are greater than ten minutes in length, we deserve to have our industry regulated out of existence. I can't emphasize enough the extent to which we are abusing our respondents and inviting them to give us lousy data by continually presenting them with flawed instruments. It's got to stop, and now.


I think data collection will always remain, but the technology used to collect and analyze it will constantly change over the next 10 years (and faster than the earlier pace!)

The 4 S's that seem to be the mantra for now are Smartphones, smarter surveys, Social Media and "Community".


Simon Kendrick

Hi - so your nuanced response is that you're referring to online surveys via access panels that last longer than 10 minutes?

I agree with the trends you point out - particularly the issue about asking the same questions over and over again.

But online surveys (even those above 10 minutes) will persist. Technologies might become obsolete, but methods and practices don't. All methods have their inherent pros and cons, and surveys have benefits that cannot be as easily or effectively replicated.

The key advantage of surveys is the artificial environment. It may not be real-life behaviour, but it facilitates (off the top of my head)
- Control of sample structure
- Standarised questioning for comparative norms
- Pre-testing in a closed environment for those that still favour development time over beta launch
- Forcing respondents to answer the questions you want them to, that they might not have otherwise considered or talked about
- Fast and cheao data collection and analysis

Surveys may constitute a smaller % of online research revenues in 20 years time, but they will still continue to be regularly used (as will face to face and telephone)

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