The Primacy of High-Quality Data
The latest GRIT report offered valuable insights into the needs and priorities of research scientists, the perspectives of research vendors, and the successes and constraints of the relationships that exist between the two. Researchers, unsurprisingly, accord the greatest primacy to the quality of the data derived from the research. There is, however, one explicit correlation that is increasingly apparent to all in the field: that high-quality data collectors acquire high-quality data.
What Constitutes a High-Quality Data Collector?
While different interview methodologies will require different skills, all field interviewers must have a number of particular abilities in order to effectively obtain high-quality data.
Field Interviewers must be able to establish a rapport with their respondents prior to the commencement of the interview. Taking time to establish a connection and sense of trust is critical to the successful outcome of the interviewing process. This is particularly important in semi- or unstructured interviewing when the respondent must feel sufficiently comfortable to elaborate beyond the specific questions being asked. One of the most important abilities that a field interviewer must possess in these particular situations, is the ability to listen attentively to what is being said. Adopting an open and neutral body language, nodding and smiling in a receptive way, making affirmative noises of acknowledgement and encouragement, as well as the strategic use of silence, can all be used to effectively encourage respondents to think further about their statements, elaborate or clarify.
Skilled and experienced interviewers are capable of eliciting the nuanced information that is necessary to ensure that comprehensive and representative data is collected during the interviewing process.
The Decline of Training and In-House Hire
The GRIT report stipulates that while 46% of qualitative research projects utilize focus groups, in-person In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) are growing at a comparable rate. This continued importance of in-person interviews reiterates the critical need for experienced individuals to collect the data, particularly since 19% of research organizations, constrained by budgetary limitations, do not intend to provide training support. This reduction in training occurs as firms intend to hire fewer and fewer in-house field interviewers, with a 4% decline projected for the upcoming year.
Partnering with Companies that are Dedicated to Great Research
Researchers also recognize the need to partner with organizations that were similarly dedicated to the production of high-quality research. Given the decline in in-house data collection hire, the reduced allotment for training in the project budget, and the growing recognition that high-quality data is acquired by high-quality data collectors, a third-party provider is an increasingly appealing option for research firms.
Headway in Research is a human capital solutions provider dedicated to the research sector. We are proud to provide experienced data collection solutions nationwide.