Big Data and automation are undoubtedly causing a sea of change across the Market Research industry. But this isn’t just restricted to the servicing and supporting of clients - it affects the very nature of our roles as researchers (regardless of whether we are bringing qualitative or quantitative skills to the equation).
Ray Poynter from the NewMR network, predicts that 40% of MR jobs (as we currently know them), will no longer exist in 5 years time*. The robots are coming and the time has never been better for us to re-evaluate where we all are, and where we would like to be, if not to future-proof careers, then at the very least gain (or maintain) access to projects with interesting people, on interesting topics, with interested clients.
In a recent discussion on how qualitative research has changed, we considered how a glance through job specifications at leading-edge research agencies and consultancies reveals that ‘regardless of the job’s seniority, experience using innovative approaches to research, such as online qual and communities’, is the very much now becoming the norm.’ Combined with this desire, the renaissance of ethnography and demand for ‘in the moment’ feedback has seen online research communities continue to expand in adoption, offering researchers the opportunity to flex and expand upon research thinking and skills, regardless of their age and experience.
So how might researchers new to using online research communities gain the most out of their projects and actively enhance their career potential? Here are the skills to consider:
Stakeholder engagement and visual storytelling
Reportage style reporting simply isn’t going to cut it for switched on clients, increasingly overloaded with data. This is noticeable across the sector and is encapsulated by the ESOMAR Global Qualitative Conference’s aim to “shine a spotlight on skilled storytellers with captivating personalities, eventful tales and unforgettable endings!”.
We always recommend to start with the end in sight and use the variety of community activities and capabilities available to maximise potential. Video diaries, missions, scrap-books, all offer excellent potential to complement your primary discussion and survey based exercises in order to tell the human story more effectively - regardless of how you choose to deliver your ‘client news’ (be this via showreels, workshops, static reports or presentations).
The distinction between ‘quallies’ and ‘quanties’ as different types of people, can be tedious and restrictive for personal development.
Whilst we don’t suggest that you become a master in quantitative research, or indeed advanced statistical methods, application of surveys and survey writing skills will undoubtedly enhance the value of your online research community (not least saving you lots of time when it comes to analysis). This works both ways and is a great opportunity to demonstrate flexibility in your approach to your research.
Survey development doesn’t need to be a chore, and Dubs online research community platform has been designed to be simple and straightforward to use, offering super-easy access. You can create structured approaches to your enquiries with single choice, multi choice and open feedback questions, and share virtually any form of multimedia for assessment, all without the need (and time) requirement for a survey programmer and lengthy QA process.
Creative approaches to enquiry
Online research communities offer a versatile range of conversation and observation opportunities, and as such huge potential to demonstrate creativity and flexibility as a researcher. We’ve seen a huge amount of research conducted via our platform (some 2000 projects since we started out in 2007), and creative enquiry is, without a doubt, one of the key researcher skills that distinguishes an effectively moderated and managed community from one that, in terms of member engagement and interest, fails to gain traction.
An online community is a golden opportunity to bring fresh thinking to the equation. You may wish to consider any range of projective discussions, psycho-drawings, and community tasks / missions to enhance the levels of feedback and insight gathered. Fortunately, help is at hand and Dub’s team of consultants, strategists, researchers and technology experts have plenty of ideas to inspire you. Check out our recent webinars which further illustrating creative approaches to community enquiries using Dub’s proprietary MarkUp tool.
*Ray does predict that 20-30% of brand new jobs will be created, so it’s not all doom and gloom! Remember the future’s bright for those of us that choose to embrace it...