Why 'reality approximation' is key to accurate research

Kyle Findlay

Market researchers typically ask respondents what they have done in a direct manner to measure past behaviour. They ask: 'Do you drink Coke at night?' or 'How many times have you seen a television ad for McDonald's in the past month?'

However, evidence suggests that such approaches often yield unreliable data. This is due to certain characteristics of the human mind.

The human brain is a marvellous tool that performs incredibly well on a day-to-day basis, considering its inherent limitations in terms of size and resources available to it. The same evolutionary traits that have helped us survive to become the dominant species on the planet also come with their own drawbacks in the context of market research. When conducting surveys, it is these 'design limitations' that sometimes reduce the validity of our results.