Choosing the Right Research Technology (+ Free Vendor Criteria Template)
Market research technology has evolved beyond simply providing qualitative and quantitative tools. As the industry itself has grown to integrate other research methods into its arsenal, so too has the range of tools grown to accommodate this expansion.
But now that the range of technology and tools has expanded, we are left with such a level of choice that it can be paralysing even to experienced insight professionals, so how are businesses with less knowledge and experience supposed to decide which tools are best for their use? This is hopefully where this blog and the attached checklist template come into play.
Along with choosing the right technologies to use in your research, there are a lot of technology providers in the insights industry who you could hire to help conduct the research you need. From survey-only self-serve platforms like SurveyMonkey to mixed methodological platforms like the InsightHub, there are many providers that deserve your consideration.
When deciding which technology provider to hire, there are some key questions you need to ask in order to get all the necessary information surrounding their experience and what they can offer you. But first, you need to know what you want in terms of technology and research, so you can action your research plan to the best of your ability.
Knowing What You Want and Need
This is a crucial first step in the research process. Unless you know what your options and what you need to conduct the research you want, you won’t be able to accurately predict what technology you need to get.
Firstly, understanding the research climate so you know what methodologies are being used, for what purpose, and with what tools is a great starting place. This will allow you to explore all of your options and help you decide which market research companies, tools and methods to use for your research requirements.
The first three considerations need to be budget, time and resources. How many resources can you allocate to this research project? Do you have researchers to dedicate to your project, or do you need to hire an agency who can take care of the project for you? How much budget do you have for research and analytical tools, the hiring of a research platform, support, etc. All of these considerations will provide the foundation of the research project you can and will undertake.
However, building on this foundation is where the options and even more questions kick in. What tools do you want to use? What type of platform is best? While you might have a research team already at your disposal, could a few extra bodies help for support? How many participants will you need, and what environment will engagement best? There are ways in which you can answer these questions, and all of them boil down to experience:
Take a look at case studies for inspiration – there are many places you can get case studies, from industry publications to the research agencies themselves, each case study will have insights into different research methods and the data produced.
Consultation from a researcher – their experience in the field will help them to point you in the different directions you could take, along with a real expectation of how each one will turn out.
Creating a research plan can be difficult, but we’ve created resources to help with this process. Check out our two templates for a research brief and a research plan to get started.
Getting What You Want and Need
Now you’ve got a plan in place, you need to find the resources that will help you. No you need to know what questions to ask of a technology provider, so you can get the right tools to fit your needs.
Again, there are a great many considerations to take into account here if you are to pick the right technology provider. These considerations differ greatly depending on if you are planning on doing the research yourself or if you want to work with an agency of insight professionals.
If you are planning on doing the research yourself and only need the technology to conduct the research, then you’ll need to look for an agency that is willing and has the experience to support you in your efforts – whether that’s providing platform training at the start or support throughout the project, designing an easy-to-use platform that allows you to set up tasks in minutes and gather data in days, while also encouraging participant engagement in the research tasks with it’s effective user experience.
If you’re looking for a research agency to conduct the research for you, then you need to feel secure in the fact that the researchers have a solid understanding of the research project, and how the resulting insights will work towards the wider business objectives. You need to feel safe in the knowledge that you know what is happening at any given moment, and can influence the research yourself with the help of the researchers if the desired results aren’t generated. Hiring an agency with experienced, knowledgeable, and communicable insight professionals to guide your research experience is a must if you are to feel in control of the project even when bringing in extra help.
The Free Vendor Criteria Checklist Template
It can be hard to keep track of all the considerations throughout all of the providers you research and interview. So, we’ve put together a criteria checklist template that you can fill out and write notes in with each vendor you consider to keep a track of your thoughts and concerns about each one.
As a graduate of Creative Writing, Emily has a passion for content creation. She brings our global vision to life through her excellent writing and editorial skills across a broad selection of our content, and manages communication through social media channels. You can follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.