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Active Research Series – Frameworks the Foundational Support

Posted 11/13/2013 by Duff Anderson

I have been writing and talking a lot about Active Research recently and I really wanted to expand on the key pillars that make up Active Research. You may remember from my blog post, Active Research, Adapt or Perish, the definition of Active Research:

Providing a competitive advantage by capturing visitor perceptions in the ‘Moment of Truth’ using advanced engagement technologies and trusted research frameworks to drive actions in existing business processes.

I would like to flesh out the pillars of Active Research contained in this definition in a 3 part series starting with Research Frameworks.

You shouldn’t build a house without a solid foundation. Equally, you shouldn’t build research without a framework. When it comes to doing Active Research, frameworks are the support beams of your project. What is a framework? According to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, a framework “is used in research to outline possible courses of action or to present a preferred approach to an idea or thought.”

Why should I use a framework? Frameworks are essential because they are:

  • Trusted - Designed by research professionals
  • Focused - Aligned to business objectives
  • Actionable -Structured for results

Trusted

Provide an objective approach to research design

Information is powerful, however, it is also political.  One of the greatest obstacles to insight from Voice of Customer (VoC) is the objectivity of the results.  The query… ‘what questions were used and who wrote them?’... often becomes an unnecessary distraction with custom questionnaire design.  With the proliferation of self serve survey tools available today, everyone in the company seems to have results to a survey that argues for their preferred agenda. Frameworks provide alignment around questionnaire design and objectivity of results.

Leverage best practices

Frameworks provide the ability to leverage best practices. In research design, ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat.’ This fact, in itself, can create delays in projects as stakeholders debate scales, question wording, and sampling strategies.  Projects can be executed much more quickly when proven research frameworks can be leveraged. By eliminating the learning curve, frameworks use a ‘measure twice cut once’ philosophy, immediately providing results you can trust and act on.

Focused

Deliver immediate insight with exact reporting

Ever heard the saying: 'Start with the end in mind?’.  Often digital research is created with little or no thought to what the final reports can deliver. With research frameworks the desired output defines the entire process from beginning to end. Predetermined data structures allow for powerful analysis techniques and associated reporting to be delivered immediately. Real time modeling, enhanced graphic displays, as well as, linguistic mappings are just a few examples of the powerful output that becomes possible. With the end in mind, leveraging a framework will ensure your insights are clear and immediate.

Actionable

Offer fixed data structures allow for system integration and APIs

Integrating results from Active Research into existing business processes brings exponential value. From linking stated intentions with observed behavior to integrating individual comments with CRM systems, frameworks provide a clearly articulated roadmap for integration and APIs. A structured approach is invaluable in facilitating automation, as well as, reducing implementations complexity and deployment time. Frameworks make system integration accessible and feasible.

Provide comparable benchmarks

Another advantage of frameworks is the ability to benchmark the results. Benchmarking adds context to how you are doing and where you want to go. Everyone using a common research framework is leveraging similar questions and data structures providing the opportunity to analyze results within a larger population.  Whether you want to compare your results by site function or industry type, frameworks open up the opportunity to add context to your results.  Your business is unique and benchmarking is one element to help you organize around your performance. Benchmarking will tell you where you fit in a range of scores, and this is useful to know before you panic or break out the champagne.


At iPerceptions, we use frameworks to structure research around a specific business problem. Designed by our research team and leveraging the best practices, iPerceptions research frameworks have been rigorously tested to provide insights that map directly to your business needs. To maximize your insight all frameworks have reporting designed around the business objective they intend to meet. iPerceptions currently offers 5 distinct frameworks that cover the Digital Customer Lifecycle.


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