As Zora Neale Hurston described it:
Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
When you’re sponsoring a research study, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is what method(s) to use.
What are your choices?
- Quantitative v. Qualitative
- Primary v. Secondary
You also have some decisions to make about data collection. The choices there include:
- Formal v. Informal
- Active v. Passive
All of these choices have associated pros and cons.
For instance, surveys (quantitative primary research where the data collection is active and formal) provide numeric answers that can be described by levels of statistical significance and degrees of confidence (see yesterday’s post for more on that). That’s obviously a pro.
On the con side, because surveys provide reassuringly specific answers, it’s tempting to over-rely on them. They’re also more susceptible to design flaws that can introduce bias – and once the survey’s deployed, you can’t correct those errors without invalidating all the responses that have already come in.
So what’s the answer?
Download the new Spark collaborative whitepaper Caveat Emptor: Becoming a Responsible Consumer of Research to find out!