I feel like Seth Godin here, talking about permission-based marketing. (Which is worth learning about, if you’re unfamiliar.)

Everything we do, as researchers, is dependent on the goodwill granted us by our respondents. If we abuse that goodwill — if we contact them too often, if we keep them on the phone/online too long, if we ask them too many questions that make them groan in frustration — well, that all costs us goodwill.

Whether our research is product-based or political, we cannot depend on the results telling us how to proceed if our respondents aren’t being truthful with us. If we disrespect them, they’ll disrespect us. If we don’t care enough to make the process of taking the survey pleasurable, why should we expect them to be patient and honest when we tie them up for half an hour asking redundant questions?

If you view your research as something the respondent will endure in order to get their guaranteed $2 or their SweepLand points or whatever the incentive is, you will not only produce sub-par results, but you will continue to contribute to the overall problem of over-used, disengaged respondents.

Shorter surveys. Smarter questions. Respect.

Get to it.


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Filed under bad user experiences, incentives/compensation, Market Research, redundant questions

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