Lesson # 1: Trust your own judgment
I wish there was one book, one resource, one website that could answer my questions about research design, moderator guide development, recruiting, which interventions or projective techniques to use. I wish there was one place I could go to look for how to analyze subjective data in an objective way. I wish I knew what to say to a client who is making requests that he/she cannot see are unreasonable and impossible to meet in a qualitative environment. But no such resource bank exists. I have had to learn to trust my own judgment – to do what I think is best, usually right in the moment. Sure, sometimes I call a colleague to check out some things. Sometimes I look on the Web for information, or scour my old files for how I solved a similar problem in the past.
I have learned that to trust my own judgment, I have to ask myself questions since ultimately my answers will provide a path on which I can walk. Here are some of the questions I ask myself as I move through a project:
- What is the study purpose?
- Is there more than one purpose?
- Which client [or back room team if more than one] should I give most of my attention?
- What can be done in the time allowed and what cannot?
- Am I the right match for this project?
- Is my skill set up to par – am I fresh or rusty – am I excited or burned out?
- Will this technique, tool, method, or approach help me reach the study purpose?
- What is the client expecting?
- What do they not want?
- What are they going to do with the data when I am done collecting it?
- Is there one big answer being sought or a lot of smaller answers needed for strategic decision-making?
- What can go wrong – and how can I be proactive, so more goes right?
- Is this project traditional or one that will require creative approaches?
Over the years, I have encountered the same problems more than once. I have had to create some solutions. I had no one to ask…I looked to see what would be best for all parties – and I trusted myself – stepped off into the unknown on faith and just kept walking.
PROBLEM / ISSUE
|Client has 14 concepts to test – not willing to give any up…wants respondents to see all 14 – to do it right will take 3 hours.
All we have is two hours and really that nets down to 100 minutes of actual research time because of the need to manage group dynamics.
|Client has enough Qs for a 120 minute group but only wants to spend 90 minutes with each group so that three groups can be done in a day||
|Should I eject this respondent or keep them?||
I promise to write more on this topic in a later blog!
|What happens if the study purpose changes while in the field?||