Yes, we have been in the International Data Collection business for quite a long time but we aren’t old-hat just yet! Why? Because we have learned to adapt.
The CATI Centre
Traditionally our core data collection methodology was the CATI centre, a plethora of people from all walks of life that have taken it upon themselves to call up perfect strangers and gather their opinions on the most inane subjects (are you happy with the bristles on your toothbrush?) through to those subjects that left interviewers in floods of tears such as drug related research on prolonging their beloved pets life for as long as possible until the inevitable.
The CATI centre, surprisingly to some, contained skilled, educated individuals; students, IT Gurus, teachers, actors, musicians, authors, magicians…that all just wanted some extra cash. They took to the telephone interview with great ease, many honing a great aptitude for the interviewing process, but also the data collection and research process. This led to many changing career paths to an upcoming Project Management, Research Executive or indeed Operations role.
On the qualitative side of data collection the recruitment process continued up to and into the live focus group. Skills such as how to get that dominant voice in the focus group out of the room as quickly as possible as the client is freaking out with their responses and the moderator is tanking. Or the “Thanks for your time but you are an individual that is clearly overqualified for this group. We have a higher level group potentially happening in X months etc. that we’d love you to attend”. This becomes a little bit trickier to assert with a virtual focus group.
Nowadays, online has really come to the fore. The quality initially was a major concern, not to mention the fraudsters. They are still there, even more so, however they are managed so much more effectively by technology and also with some simple screening practices. That doesn’t mean that CATI is dead, far from it. While a number have closed their doors with the onset of other methodologies clients still prefer to have that more personal interaction, and believe it or not, respondents sometimes welcome the approach also. It’s good to talk!
New methodologies, e.g. social media recruitment, have provided a middle ground where CATI costs are too high and online panels for certain target criteria just doesn’t exist. There are some great companies out there adapting to this change and bringing quality respondents to the research process.
At Dynamic Fieldwork, having employed many of these methodologies, the advantage we possess as experts in International Data Collection is the ability to recommend to a client what works in a particular demographic, industry or geography. And perhaps more importantly, we can advise what doesn’t!