Methods of Action Research


Having made my own surveys and conducted interviews for some of my marketing classes and jobs, it was interesting to hear from professionals in the research field about their methods and experiences.

Some of the key points that I took away from the panel were as follows:

  • Beginning research – can involve talking really informally with people to determine what their issues might be that can be researched further, as well as what the client wants to do with the data collected, and looking at government research data to get an idea of what already exists and how you can build on the information
  • Why to do research – programs may believe they are doing good, but they often do not have proof that what they are doing is working; research can establish if something is working to gain real recognition and funding for a program, and it can identify areas for improvement
  • other tips
    • 1) never ask a question you don’t want the answer to
    • 2) always conduct research carefully with the assumption more groups and people will be using your process and results than you expect
    • 3) assume your community partner/client will probably keep using your system, whether or not it was super successful, cause they don’t have means or expertise of doing it again and constantly making new ones
    • 4) never release data that would identify someone

The responses from the panelists made me consider some of the research I had conducted and how I certainly could have crafted my research methods more carefully. For example, I once created a survey for medical residents to establish their habits and how to market a new product to them. However, I did not ask preliminary questions of any residents to get a better understanding of what survey questions would be most useful. In creating it, I also did not consider that my client might use the survey again for further research. Finally, before beginning, I had not considered looking at government sites for data that might have been helpful.

Overall, the panelists were very informative and I hope to incorporate some of their tips into my future market research.

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