Research World (February 2005)

Date of publication: February 1, 2005

Catalogue: Research World 2005

Author: ESOMAR B.V.

Abstract:

Is the respondent disappearing? For some years now, non-response has been a major cause of concern for market researchers. And those people who are still prepared to co-operate in research, i.e. the respondents, are being converted into ‘participants and ambassadors’. Traditional methods are apparently being traded in for ‘bricolage, ethnography, semiotics, diaries, photographs, home videos, observation and large workshops with consumers or clients (so-called consumer shoe groups)’. Disciplines such as linguistics, neuroscience and cognitive psychology are being used to provide additional consumer insight. This is indeed fascinating but what are we actually doing by giving the respondent a different and sometimes broader role? What exactly is being measured and how reliable is the information? There is also a growing trend to contact respondents through ‘remote control’. A considerable amount of research is being conducted using online access panels especially when it comes to international research. This development offers quite a few opportunities but on the other hand, you no longer see or hear the respondent at all. Who is participating in this type of research? What can you do and what should you not do? Which tools can be used and which not? The total lack of physical contact has its advantages but there are also a number of obvious limitations.

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