Market research panels are incredibly useful tools for powerful insight generation. With panel research being one of the most used research tools, it’s important to keep them in full health so insight teams and stakeholders can fully rely on them to feed insights into important decision-making processes.
There are a few areas that define panel health, such as respondent engagement, big data analysis and overall efficiency, but there are a few common issues that crop up that insight teams should look out for and solve as soon as possible to avoid repercussions in the research experience.
Diagnosing and Treating Research Panel Problems
One of the bigger headaches insight teams have to deal with on a regular basis is participant engagement. Even when dealing with a typically responsive panel, the question of how many people will engage in the research task will still whirl around until a few responses come in.
When responses start trailing off after a number of surveys and other research task invitations are sent out, that means participant engagement in research is declining, and so will the panel health. When only a few regular participants send back responses to research, data bias comes into question with the lack of diversity in the responses. In order to maintain high participant engagement in research, there are a number of panel management, research and survey design and moderation techniques that researchers can employ.
Another tactic to help increase participant engagement is make sure everyone involved in the research process is following all the data and information security protocols. This ensures that participants feel protected and comfortable sharing even some of their most personal data.
The best research panels are efficient, streamlining numerous extraneous processes in the data collection, analysis and communication stages of the research experience. Insight teams have a couple of options to choose from when it comes to making research more efficient, but one of the bigger options we take advantage of more often than not is automation.
Automation helps increase the speed of research turnover, extend the research of insights, and increases participant engagement by easing a number of background tasks from a researcher’s workload. Automating panel-related tasks in areas such as recruitment, fieldwork, and reporting allows researchers to increase the speed and quality of participant recruitment, the quality of data collected and analysed for researchers, and allow stakeholders to receive key insights in real-time to better inform decisions.
For in-house insight teams, a helping hand can aid in increasing the efficiency and reach of panel research. Outsourcing background panel management tasks to a dedicated research agency alleviates pressure on the in-house teams so they can better focus on analysing the relevant data and generating deeper insights that better inform decision-making.
The time added to a researchers day can also help pave the way to more educational opportunities, learning more skills to aid in better insight generation and communication. For example, storytelling might not be the most obvious skill for a researcher to add to their arsenal, but it is fast becoming a skill required by research agencies and stakeholders to make sure that insights are communicated in a more engaging and universally-understandable way.
Taking the time to monitor panel health is a task in and of itself. The symptoms of ill-health in a research panel include but are not limited to: incomplete or inaccurate datasets, unengaged participants, and feeling like the panel needs more attention and effort to run than it’s actually worth. This last one can be subjective, but is a good indicator that something more can be done to make sure the panel runs better than it currently is.
This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.