Publishers, editors and researchers

Date of publication: June 15, 1974

Author: Michael Bird

Abstract:

Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between man and the machines or tools he uses. The ergonomics of market research tools and their users has been a neglected subject, however. Operational researchers, it is true, have occasionally joined marketing departments in the hope of constructing a rational linkage between survey data and management action. They get few thanks and fewer successes - especially when it comes to the publishing business. Further, the producers of survey data are insufficiently curious about the ways in which decisions to carry out a survey are arrived at, and afterwards they rarely enquire in detail about the ways in which the survey is used once it leaves their hands. They have good reason. Having sat on both sides of the fence and, as often as possible, on the fence as well, I feel emboldened, if not actually qualified, to say a few words on the world of publishing and research, which is not, as you might imagine, about factor analysis or seven-point scaling or significance testing, but about people.

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