Start Your Research Project With a Sense of Discovery and You’ll Come Out With More Knowledge 2

imageOne of the most common things I’d hear upon completion of a market research project was “I already knew that?!”

There is this idea that at the conclusion of some market research endeavor the heavens would open up and we would somehow know something amazingly new and different that had never occurred to us before.  Yet, when you think about it — that is the last thing that should happen.

After all, you know your business, and you are doing the research to make better decisions.  You aren’t doing it to KNOW something — you’re doing it to learn something.  I heard a quote yesterday that struck me “Knowledge is in the speaking and wisdom is in the listening.”   And when we’re talking about market research, it helps to be in the mode of discovery and listening.  That is a very different way of being than gathering information for the sake of knowing it.

Match the Tone of Your Invite to The Audience of Your Survey

You may not think it matters, but the spirit with which you enter into your research is more transparent than you might think.  It starts with the tone of your survey invitation.

These days you don’t get much real estate in which to invite your respondent.  Even if you are lucky enough to use an email invitation to an existing customer, attention spans are short and time to take surveys is even shorter.  The tone of your invitation can make all the difference to your response rate.

If your tone is too academic and rigid, respondents may already know that this will be long and painful.  If your tone is too casual for the audience, they may not take you seriously enough and skip over the survey.

Take the time to match the tone of your invite to the audience.  It also helps to create survey invitations via Twitter (if your survey is open to the public) or Facebook and schedule those throughout several days.

How Would a Spirit of Discovery Change the Questions in Your Survey?

First what is the difference between discovery and knowledge?  When you are in “discovery” mode, anything can happen.  The possibilities are wide open.  And more importantly — YOU are wide open.  You don’t know and you are open to what shows up in the process.

When you “KNOW” something.  You know it.  There is nothing to discuss, nothing to learn.  It just is.  We now know that California lies beyond Ohio there is no discovery there — there is knowledge.  But a couple of hundred years ago, as Europeans were trekking across the country, they didn’t really KNOW what lay ahead.  They had a sense of discovery around their journey.

How would your survey look if you created questions from a mindset of discovery rather than proving something or someone right or wrong?

More importantly, how would your results be reported if you looked at them as components of discovery rather than fact?