Research in a world without questions

Tom Ewing and Bob Pankauskas
Robin Brown and Joseph Chen
BrainJuicer, UK and Allstate Insurance, USA

Introduction

Is it possible to do market research without asking direct questions?

The idea may seem like a parlour game – the research equivalent of peeling a satsuma in one go – but there are excellent reasons to take it seriously. This paper will argue that "research without questions" is not only possible, it's often essential – it's the best way to get at what people actually do, not just what they say they do.

This paper particularly covers behavioural economics, observational and ethnographic research, social media research and innovative qualitative techniques, and seeks to show the extraordinary possibilities of a "world without questions".

Separately, these areas have been the subject of much interest from researchers in recent years. This paper offers a review of the field, but also introduces new material in three areas.