Viewpoint

Adam Phillips
Real Research

MAINTAINING RESEARCH STANDARDS

We work in an industry in which the impact of technology has been tremendous. Observation is increasingly replacing direct questioning as the main form of data collection and access panels are replacing ad hoc samples as the main source of respondents.

Nevertheless, in spite of the changes caused by new technology, our industry is a mature one. The practical problems of executing market and social research today would be familiar to someone working in the 1950s: getting access to universe data, drawing representative samples, overcoming refusal to cooperate, designing effective data collection instruments, managing data collection and analysis, and so on. Since then, the changes to the technology of production have been marked. Now that segmentation can be reduced to the level of identifiable individuals, it is economic to build databases that are closer to censuses than samples.