Primary Research Tools: Q&A With Jen Berkley Jackson

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, Design of Experiments, skmurphy

I recently did an in depth interview with Jen Berkley Jackson of The Insight Advantage on primary research tools. Jen works with companies to help them make sure that they understand their customers better than any competitor or potential competitor. Her firm performs primary research for clients, using a variety of tools to gather information from customers, prospective customers, and the general market. Because of her considerable experience with a range of primary research tools I took this as an opportunity to explore the spectrum approaches that are available.

This is my second interview with her, in June we talked about Win-Loss Interviews. You can download The Insight Advantage Research Tools Matrix, along with several other useful tools and articles, from the Resources section of The Insight Advantage website.  What follows is an edited transcript of remarks with hyperlinks added for clarity.

Primary Research Tools: A Spectrum of Choices

Sean Murphy: Today, we wanted to give the audience an overview of primary research tools. At a high level, what are we are going to cover today?

Jen Berkley Jackson: I think what will be most helpful is to think of things on a spectrum from open-ended qualitative conversations (which we might need to define) and then the other end of the spectrum being where close-ended quantitative data is being gathered. So within that spectrum, we’ll talk about ethnographic studies on the far end of qualitative, then customer panels, usability testing, in-person interviews, focus groups, telephone interviews and telephone surveys, in-person surveys, then web surveys on the other end of the spectrum.

Qualitative
Deep knowledge about fewer people
Insights from below the surface
Discovery of previously unknown needs
Implicit info
Early stages of product process
Quantitative
Shallow knowledge about lots of people
Tip of the “cultural iceberg”
Info about known needs
Explicit info
Later stages of product process
Ethnographic
Studies
Customer
Panel
Usability
Testing
In-Person
Interview
Focus Group Telephone
Interview /
Survey
Print Survey Web Survey
Download full PDF at The Insight Advantage Research Tools Matrix

Ethnographic Studies

Sean Murphy: When you say an ethnographic study, that’s a technical term. What does that cover?

Jen Berkley Jackson: This is a very specialized research. It’s really based on observing people in their natural environment to see how they act with product and services. For example, it could mean going to an electronics store and watching how people interact with displays and how much help they need to get questions answered about that product, or where their eyes go on a shelf…that’s part of an ethnographic study. It could also mean going to a home for a consumer-based product or an office for a business type of product or service and watching people actually in their environment using whatever the thing is. It’s funny because it really is quite insightful to see how people actually use a product versus how they say they use a product. When we’re asked to be analytical about how we use something, we might forget some details. Ethnographic studies help observe everything and people who do this are very expert at capturing every little new facet of a person’s interaction with a product.

Sean Murphy: When the lean start up folks talk about getting out of the building or the lean quality folks talk about going to the scene of the crime, is this what they’re talking about?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Yes. I would say so. I think that’s one example, absolutely, of when you would want to gather information about how people are really using your product.

Sean Murphy: What are the pluses and minuses of this approach?

Jen Berkley Jackson: The pluses, I think, are that you get deeper understanding of things that people aren’t even aware of in their conscious mind about the way that they’re using products, the workarounds sometimes that they’re creating to overcome weaknesses in a product. You know how we are. We just accept certain things about products that we have worked around so we might not express that if somebody asked us.

Sean Murphy: So you can spot things that are either below the consciousness because they don’t realize it yet or they’re so familiar with it they become acclimatized to it?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Yes. Let me give an example. I was a subject of an ethnographic study. Plantronics wanted me to test out a new phone that I actually ended up buying. It was great. I love their phone. It was a digital phone, it had Bluetooth headset capability. When they were watching me using the phone that they had sent me to use, they realized that even though the headset was supposed to pair with my smartphone as well as their digital phone, I ended up wearing two different headphones, one on each ear (the one that came with the phone and my separate Bluetooth phone that I used with my smart phone). They really wanted to understand that. The problem was that pairing their headset with my smartphone was just too confusing. My phone, when it rang, never knew what to do and it just was a frustrating process. I had a workaround! They took pictures of me with my two headphones, one on each ear, but that was something that I may or may not have brought up because I had just accepted it.

Sean Murphy: Interesting.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Yes. [Laughter]

Sean Murphy: What made them decide to do an ethnographic model? When do companies choose ethnographic models?

Jen Berkley Jackson: I think it’s definitely in that early stage of a product, and it could also be a product that’s been around for a while but they’re developing the next model. In the early stage of the next ‘something’ when they’re really trying to understand whether there’s a need that they’re addressing. Because in some cases, an ethnographic study might be just studying people in an environment without a new product to play with and see what problems they’re running into. We call that the fuzzy front end when you’re trying to figure out where’s the need and then when we have a concept, is it hitting the need well or not. We didn’t talk about the cons. I got so interested in my two headsets. The cons of ethnographic study – sometimes it’s hard to get permission from people to participate in that way. I definitely thought twice before having somebody come into my home office and have somebody invade my space and watch me working…

Sean Murphy: They actually came in to your office and sat and watched you.

Jen Berkley Jackson: They did. That’s how it’s done. They don’t want you in an artificial environment. They want you in your native habitat.

Sean Murphy: I see. So what about observer effects? Do you think that can sometimes change behavior?

Jen Berkley Jackson: I think it could. I don’t think there’s any pure research unfortunately. I don’t know. There is always mystery shopping where people are watching and hiding behind the aisle or something, but I think that with most research, unfortunately, there’s the interference of knowing that you’re being studied, right?

Sean Murphy: Right. So ethnographic studies are high cost but are potentially very high value, especially when you don’t have a lot of data about the actual use.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Yes and yes, it is very expensive because it’s one on one. It’s usually a couple of hours with a person and you have to travel to them so you’ve got travel time as well as the time with the “subject”.

Customer Panel

Sean Murphy: In your introduction, the next thing that you talked about in terms of slightly less qualitative, slightly more quantitative were customer panels. How do you define a customer panel?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Customer panels, the way we’re talking about today, it would be when you have a static group of customers, key customers, that you want to have an ongoing relationship with and want to be able to tap them for their opinions throughout the life cycle of the time that they’re serving on the customer panel. A lot of people call these customer advisory groups or customer advisory boards.

Sean Murphy: Yes, I’ve heard of those.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Some people look at it as a way to wine and dine their key customers, and that’s all fine and good. But unless you’re really tapping them for insight about the way their companies are experiencing your product or where their companies are going in terms of things that could drive future development, you’re not really getting the full bang for your buck.

Sean Murphy: One advantage that this would offer over ethnographic is that they can tell you either behaviors they’re anticipating starting, or changes that they see coming. So it is not just what is going on now, but the customers may tell you what their plans are for the future.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Absolutely. Yes. The example I gave sounds like it’s only a B to B play, but but there are a lot of consumer product companies like Procter and Gamble that use customer panels. They have customer panel where they have moms using detergent and coming in and giving their input on new ideas and what is changing about the way they look at these things. So it could either B to B or B to C.

Sean Murphy: The key to this versus some other methods we’ll discuss is that this is designed to be an ongoing relationship. How long are people typically a member of the panel of the board?

Jen Berkley Jackson: At least a year. Companies really want to have a long-term commitment for those kinds of things.

Sean Murphy: What prevents companies from taking this approach or what are the drawbacks for this approach?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Well, the downside is that it requires that long-term commitment from the customer. It’s a lot of time compared with whatever compensation there might be, and I think there’s also the fine art of figuring out how to incentivize people to participate without making them feel like they’re being bribed and you don’t want them being ‘yes people’. So I think that figuring out how to encourage a long-term commitment and how to provide enough benefit back to people to justify their time investment is definitely the most challenging thing.

Sean Murphy: So one of the offers to the customers has to be “help us create the future.” Because they have to have some stake in your continued success.

Jen Berkley Jackson: That’s true. It makes it sound like you only want raving fans to be on panel and you definitely want naysayers on your panel, too because those people are going to get you out of your comfort zone and get you thinking about things in a way that you might not have otherwise. As you can tell, establishing the balance of who’s on your panel is extremely challenging and it’s really important to making it work well.

Sean Murphy: We’ve helped startups do this a number of times. We’re focused on the front end of adoption so most of the time we’re looking for visionaries or pragmatists to help us complete the product. The technologists, for the most part, you reach by giving them hands on access to the offering…

Usability Testing

Sean Murphy: Which brings up usability testing. Could you talk a little bit about where this gets employed?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Sure. I think that’s something a lot of people have knowledge of or have participated in. Usually it’s around the technical product but not necessarily, and it’s an opportunity for companies to let actual users or potential users of a product play with it, try to break it. It’s funny because it’s overlaps a little bit with ethnography because you are observing people, but you’re taking people normally out of their normal habitat and you’re bringing them into a facility of some kind. Could be the company facilities themselves or could be a focus group facility. It’s a chance for people who designed the product to see how it actually works for people.

Sean Murphy: As I understand it, the focus is not on finding bugs but on finding problems where the user can’t figure out what to do or that there are unclear menus or instructions. What are the kinds of questions you try to answer in a usability test versus say an ethnographic study or a focus group?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Well, actually I think usability can identify bugs but you shouldn’t do usability test before you’ve done a lot of bug testing already. I think exactly what you’re saying around the actual user interface. Do people know how to navigate your solution, can they understand the instructions? For websites, there’s a huge field of experts around website usability. Understanding what content people are attracted to on your website, is that really where you wanted them to go, what is the logical next step for them versus what you have intended. Those kinds of things all come out in usability testing.

Sean Murphy: What are the drawbacks? When would you decide not to use this and to use something different?

Jen Berkley Jackson: It takes time, definitely takes time, and it doesn’t necessarily help you figure out what the solution to the problem is. It just helps you identify the problem. But I would mention to say that almost all technology products that are out there these days are doing some kind of usability testing. They have to overcome the cost and the time obstacles of that type of research to make it fit in to product launch cycle.

Sean Murphy: I meet a number of folks who are usability or what they now call UX or user experience experts. How do you draw the line between retaining a usability consultant to give you advice and doing usability testing? Do you have any sense of how to split the budget or how to split the time allocation?

Jen Berkley Jackson: I think UX experts are great because they can help get you down the road in designing and functionality based on what they know from experience about what works, but I would never suggest that the company do just that. They have to get their products in the hands of people who would actually use it to see how they actually interface with technology…it’s changing all the time. What people expect on a webpage now versus even three years ago. It’s so different. So a UX person can only stay up with so much with that with things evolving and different generations using product. You need to get it in the users’ hands also.

In Person Interviews

Sean Murphy: After usability testing you list in-person interviews. Do you normally employ these techniques in sequence? Do you start with an ethnographic study and then establish a customer panel and then do usability testing? As you are planning for market introduction and product deployment are these tools used in a particular sequence?

Jen Berkley Jackson: That’s a great question. I would say that companies use more qualitative approaches earlier in a product life cycle and they move to more quantitative because qualitative allows for the unknown, the things you don’t know to come up. But that doesn’t mean necessarily that every company will do an ethnographic study, will do customer panel, even unfortunately usability testing. But very few companies do them all.

Sean Murphy: What are the typical triggers for deciding to do in-person interviews? When is that best used?

Jen Berkley Jackson: It’s interesting. Sometimes when I work with a client, I find the same trigger for in-person interviews as what some companies or people would think were triggers for a focus group. It’s basically when you want input from your target market. You want to better understand things that aren’t so much about usability, but it’s around what triggers them to look for a product like yours, where will they look for it. You might even have people react to advertising copy or concepts for branding idea in in-person interviews. I guess I would like to talk about focus groups at the same time as interviews because all of those things apply to focus group talks also.

Sean Murphy: Is the in-person interview typically done in the person’s home or place of business, in a third party location, or at the client’s office?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Usually in a third party location.

Sean Murphy: So a focus group will be many people in a third party location. In-person interview would be one on one in a third party location.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Typically, yes. The reason why I like to talk about both of these at the same time is because sometimes companies will say, “We need to know more about all of the things I just mentioned. We need to do focus group.” But often I push back and say, “If you’re trying to understand the buying process and how people think and how people evaluate your product, they’re not doing that in a group. They’re doing that in an isolated way and you really want to be able to drill down and explore that very deeply.” That’s where one-on-one interviews come in. You’re going to get a much more isolated view about how any one/person thinks than you will in focus groups. I think that focus groups are better when you could really use that group dynamic to generate ideas. When there’s something about the group that’s going to get you better data than if you have people individually and vice versa. I think that sometimes focus groups can impact people with the way they share their experience or their attitude, and it can taint the way that person shares their insight with you. It’s not really how they would act in their isolated ‘real world’, which is how they would normally buy that product.

Focus Group

Sean Murphy: So do people typically do focus groups as a cost-saving measure or because the aspects of a group dynamic are helpful?

Jen Berkley Jackson: I think the companies think of them as a tool that will save money because you’ve got a lot of people in a room, but also it’s just popular. “Oh, focus group! Let’s do focus groups.” In-person interviews aren’t as sexy. Also, companies like the idea of sitting in the back room and watching people interact about their product and eating M&Ms and talking about the people in the room. It’s just this whole dynamic, but I often push back when focus groups come up as a methodology because more often than not, it’s the objective of the product doesn’t fit for the way I think focus group help the most.

Sean Murphy: When you talk about in-person interviews, is this for both customers and prospects or just one or the other?

Jen Berkley Jackson: It works for both. One of the projects I’m thinking of where they wanted to do focus groups and I was the only vendor who said, “You really need to do one-on-one interviews.” We were talking to two different audiences. One would be a potential buyer of the product and the other would be a potential user of the product. This was an elderly device. So people like me who have an elderly mom would probably be the buyer and my mom would be the user, and so we did segmentation of the interviews based on who were we talking to.

I used a focus group of customers when I was doing a naming project for company, a company that I worked for. I was the project manager for this re-branding. So we had focus groups of customers come in. We also did some non-customer ones, but we did both to get input on various brand names that we’re thinking going to. We were consolidating three companies and wanted to get feedback on a new umbrella name for all three. So we got input from both customers and non-customers.

Telephone Interview / Survey

Sean Murphy: Interesting. I had always thought of focus groups just for prospects. As we move along the spectrum to more quantitative methods, next up is telephone interviews and telephone surveys. What is the distinction between a telephone interview and a telephone survey?

Jen Berkley Jackson: It’s interesting. A telephone interview could just be a different way of doing the in-person interview that we just talked about. Telephone interviews could be trying to accomplish a lot of those same objectives that we talked about. Anything you wanted to talk to somebody about one on one, isolate their ideas, be able to drill down very deeply on their opinions, perspectives, insights, all of that. The only difference between telephone interview and in-person interview is you’re doing it remotely and you’re not face-to-face. A telephone survey is where, for whatever reason, you decide that administering a survey on a phone is preferable to what we’re more used to now like web-based survey. The reason somebody would do a telephone survey is that they want to collect the quantitative data, but they want to have just a little flexibility to stop and drill down further in certain areas. Maybe there are trigger areas that if they come up, you have to put the things you want to drill down more about, but you have that ability way more with the telephone survey than you would with the more traditional web survey.

Sean Murphy: Given a choice between an in-person interview and a telephone interview, when do you would pick telephone interview over an in-person?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Well, telephone interviews can go a long way. I think that it’s much easier to get geographical distribution and representation in a project doing telephone interview. It reduces the budget enormously, and also people are way more likely to participate in a phone interview than having to come somewhere and do travel time to go someplace. So the in-person interviews that I’ve done, we actually have a reason for doing it in person where we have to show them something. One project I’m thinking about was about digital photo frame concept. So it was a device. We really needed them to see it and we weren’t going to ship those out to people, right? I think there are less and less in-person interview now with travel being such a pain and other technologies helping bridge that distance. So telephone interviews would be the first line of attack if you’re trying to do a one-on-one interview.

Sean Murphy: We have used in-person interviews two ways. One where we go to their place of business because we get a chance to see the work environment and pick up the vibe. The other is at an industry conference or event that gathers people together, we can then use the event as an excuse to conduct a face to face interview where there’s no travel involved.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Yes. Absolutely. There was a project where the client was a global technology firm and they were looking at some new industries they wanted to get into. So let’s say one with petroleum and one with hospital. They wanted high-level executives in those industries to do one-on-one interviews. So we had to go out and find people all over the world that could speak the local language and go into the executive’s office and have an hour interview with them. It was a huge undertaking. It cost many, many, many tens of thousands of dollars. It took a really long time. The thought was that if you want that higher level person, the only way you’re going to get them is face-to-face. They don’t tend to get on the phone because it doesn’t seem worth their while. This was a really tough project to execute, and it’s very complicated when you’re trying to go into their space. Anytime you’re trying to get those higher-level folks, very, very challenging.

Sean Murphy: One trick a client who sells a very high ticket product has used is to ask the executive the next time they’re flying and buy a seat next to them on the airplane.

Jen Berkley Jackson: That’s great. [Laughter]

Sean Murphy: Because it’s typically viewed as less productive time and you get whatever the flight length is–anywhere from an hour to two or three hours.

Jen Berkley Jackson: That’s very creative. [Laughter] Those executives, they’re hard to pin down.

Sean Murphy: Right. That’s why it’s easier to schedule telephones interviews–and I agree with you, I think you get about 80% of the value of face to face–because the person on the other side always knows they can hang up. It’s more uncomfortable to throw you out of their office…

Print Survey / Web Survey

Sean Murphy:  So then when do people choose surveys? These are the most quantitative, the most numeric. When do you see these getting employed and what are they best for?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Realistically, companies are doing web surveys ALL of the time right now and they’re not necessarily thinking about where it’s the right tool. Web surveys are not the right tool for everything:  they’re good when you need a lot of data, where we are gathering thousands of responses to make statistically significant results pop out.

But you have to know a lot about the market to write a good survey. Sometimes we will start with telephone interview so I can get clearer on the terminology, the mindset, the world that the customers live in so I can create a great web survey that resonates with them. One where I can create close-ended answered choices that represent at least 80% of the boxes that need to be checked.

Unfortunately, if you do a web survey when you don’t know enough about your market, you have a lot of people checking that ‘other’ box and that really defeats the purpose of a web survey.  Done right you can quickly digest data, make calculations of frequencies of answers, and get good insights in close to real time. You can tap into web surveys while they’re still live and see the trends in the data.

But you should only use a web survey when you have enough knowledge to write a good survey that really resonates to the people.

Sean Murphy: Yes. I agree. I see people going the survey route first out of a false belief in higher productivity. We don’t use them that often. When I do office hours I send a four-question follow up survey, but it’s four open-ended questions. It’s what was the most useful question, what was the least useful question, which is your plan to change result of the office hours, and what can we do to improve our process. Those are open-ended questions where I’ve found that that tends to give me the most insight. Most of the time, I’m working so far at the beginning where you just don’t know enough to do the closed-ended surveys.

Jen Berkley Jackson: What you were describing, is that an evaluation like a post-engagement evaluation?

Sean Murphy: Yes. That’s an evaluation, which is a form of research but it would be with people who are still prospects.

Jen Berkley Jackson: There are so many different ways to gather data, right? I mean that is something we’re not even touching on is evaluation like post-training evaluation or post-service evaluation. I do a post project web survey with my client, and I would much rather do a debrief in-person with them about how did things go and that kind of thing. I just can’t pin them down. They’re on to the next thing,” and so I have a web survey that I send to them so that I can at least capture some metrics and it is confidential. I have to consolidate the data over the time, but evaluations are a whole other thing with their own challenges.

Sean Murphy: The other place I find a survey useful is for people that are more introverted and want to take some time to write an answer or want to have slept on it. The challenge with direct conversation is that it can make introverts more uncomfortable. We normally send the key questions in advance we are going to ask so that it feels less like a pop quiz. Even for extroverts it can help them to think about what are going to discuss in advance.

Jen Berkley Jackson: We haven’t talked about things like online focus groups, online bulletin boards. Those are things that are more asynchronous where people participate over maybe a week. So it deals somewhat what you’re talking about. It takes a focus group concept and allows people to participate on their own time at their own pace and be able to come back and revise their answers and that kind of thing. So that is the beauty of an online tool like that.

Sean Murphy: That’s a very good point. I think an email discussion group or an online forum for customers has a different dynamic from a customer panel and allows allow you to assess the user community’s problems and needs more broadly.

When to Use Which Research Tool

Sean Murphy: As I look over the spectrum again, you’re guided by how much they know about the market and how mature the product is. When how have little market knowledge or the product is less mature, you’re encouraging your clients to look very hard at qualitative methods, ethnographic studies.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Absolutely. Yes.

Sean Murphy: When do you start to encourage them to transition to more numeric or more quantitative approaches?

Jen Berkley Jackson: It’s so funny because this is the art of what we do, right? [Laughter] This is the art.

Sean Murphy: Well, I think it’s actually a very hard question because it gets into  how to assess what you don’t know.

Jen Berkley Jackson: I have a client, Plantronics. They wanted to make some decisions about whether to pursue a vertical market for one of their products. They needed to have huge numbers of participants to be able to size those markets properly. So when you’re talking about market sizing and comparing market segments, a web survey’s absolutely the right way to go because you need a significant amount of data to be able to feel confident about putting your eggs in any one bucket or segment. You can get away with more directional data in some of the other objectives that we’ve talked about where you’re trying to decide between this market message in this market and other market message. Well, you can change market messaging pretty easily. So directional data is okay in some cases and statistically significant hard result is more appropriate than others.

Sean Murphy: Interesting. Are there other questions that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

Jen Berkley Jackson: That’s such a great researcher question. [Laughter]

Sean Murphy: I think you taught that to me actually.

Jen Berkley Jackson: [Laughter] That’s great. Gosh. I really feel like we’ve covered a lot of it. I think that some things for another day would be how online platforms are impacting research and when they’re appropriate. But that’s too much to go into that, touch on that. I think that the preachy thing that I love to share when we’re talking about research tools is that just because there are a lot of web survey tools out there doesn’t mean everybody should be doing web surveys and that it’s really important to step back and think about what are your objectives, where are you in your own process, and decide what the right tool is. I get concerned because it’s so easy for people to do their own research using all these amazing tools out there that there are too many situations where the wrong tool is being used just because it’s easy to pick up.

Sean Murphy: Is there any particular downside to using the survey either prematurely or in the wrong way? How do you tell if you’re either too early to be using it or you’re not using it in the best way?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Well, I think that’s two different questions. All of these tools are about making decisions. I mean that’s really ultimately why you do research. You’re making some decision. But if you’re using the wrong tool and you’re getting the wrong data in the wrong way, then potentially you could make the wrong decision. The other thing you could do, and I think we’ve all seen this happen, is if you do poorly designed research, especially if it’s not blind meaning they know that it was your company that conducted the research, it doesn’t reflect well on your brand or your product when you come back and you want to market something. If you’ve gotten those surveys where there was no answer choice that covered you and it was an excruciatingly long 25-minute survey, it doesn’t make you feel good about the company that’s building that research. It can impact sentiment.

Sean Murphy: The ones I hate promise they can be completed in three minutes but require you to answer every question–you hit next page and they send you back the last page with red all over questions you skipped. You get to the third page, realize that this “three minute survey” has dozens of questions, and find yourself exhausted.

Jen Berkley Jackson: See. What you just said, it totally ratifies what I tell my clients. When people make up answers just to get through the survey, you have bad data. I very often tell my client, “You have to do several surveys vs. try to answer every question all in one long survey. You have to ask only 10 to 20 most important questions and then you’ll get good data.” If you go beyond the tolerance of the person taking the survey, they’re just going to click, just click, click. And you’re getting very bad data.

Sean Murphy: I have a technical question for you. What is the rationale behind requiring an answer?

Jen Berkley Jackson: Well, the rationale is that a company’s paying for the research, they may or may not be offering some incentives so they need people to complete the survey. They don’t want to build a survey and pay for participants and not get enough data to make decisions at the end.

Sean Murphy: If 90 out of 100 people who took the survey don’t answer questions 7, 14, and 19, that sounds like it’s actually data.

Jen Berkley Jackson: Yes. That is true, but it’s a fine line because if you have optional for everything, unfortunately you’re going to have people skip through the whole survey and get to the end and leave their contact information for whatever drawing you’re having. Using skip logic strategically will help deal with this…to help ensure that people are only getting questions that actually pertain to them.

I agree with you that that would be helpful data to have if a majority of people skip a certain question. For me, that’s the thing you should find out in survey testing. If there’s a question that people are skipping, it’s because they’re probably confused about it or have some strong aversions to it. For example, sensitive information, I always make those optional. Household income. If it’s not an optional question, we’ll always have a decline to state answer choice. Age, income, those kinds of things. Whenever it’s a sensitive thing, you always should make it optional but those are usually not the need of the survey,

Sean Murphy: Well, I really want to thank you for taking me through this. I like the spectrum. I like the way you have it organized, and I really appreciate you taking the time with me to walk through it. If you are reading this and would like to learn more a more detailed version of the tool spectrum is available as a no cost download at The Insight Advantage Research Tools Matrix

Jen Berkley Jackson: All right. Thanks so much, Sean!

Related Blog Posts

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

Quick Links

Bootstrappers Breakfast Link Startup Stages Clients In the News Upcoming Events Office Hours Button Newsletter SignUp