A Glimpse Behind the Scenes
I write semi-regularly about the human side of my life as an independent researcher — both the highs and the lows.
When I ventured out to work on my own, I was really excited about working from home. I quickly learned, though, that working alone all the time is not for me. So, over the past year or two, I’ve gone to coworking spaces wherever I am: Paper Street in Detroit; Sandbox Suites in San Francisco; Uber Offices in DC; Office Squared in Burlington, Vermont; HUBBA in Bangkok; and LaunchPad in New Orleans.
After qualitative research, my clients often ask questions like “What were the key take-aways from respondents in this market?” This is what they’re concerned about, and rightfully so; it’s their job. But I try to remember that, just like my clients are more than their jobs, our respondents are more than just respondents: they’re people with lives and families and
I recently did a week-long juice fast at a wellness center. Upon arrival, I was handed a questionnaire asking about my eating habits and how often I suffered from each of a long list of ailments. “I’m really struggling here,” one of my fellow fasters confided one day. “It might be because I lied on my questionnaire,” she confessed. “They asked
Survey design is a linguistically intense undertaking. Every respondent should get the same meaning from your questions—and it should be the meaning you had in mind when you wrote the questions. A client wanted to know about feelings of security in different neighborhoods, and wrote the question “How safe do you feel in the area where you live?” In pre-tests,
I’m still looking for the perfect description of what I do. “Research” conjures images of white coats and Bunsen burners, and “survey” often leads people down the path of topography. True story: After hearing what my PhD was in, someone once asked if I had been a waitress for a long time. I must have looked perplexed, because she clarified,