The differences between academic and commercial research

Posted by Ray Poynter, 1 April 2014 I am currently at an academic conference on mobile research in Cyprus, a WebDataNet event. I am a keynote speaker and my role is to share with the delegates the commercial market research picture. I really enjoy mixing with the academic world, and I am intrigued and fascinated by the differences between the academic and commercial worlds. This post looks at some of the key differences that I have noticed. Timelines In the academic world, timelines are usually longer than in market research. For example, an ethnographic project might be planned for 8 months, in the field for 4 months, and spend 12 months being analysed and written up. A commercial ‘ethnography’ might spend 4 weeks in design and set-up, the fieldwork might be wrapped up in 2 weeks, and the analysis and ‘write up’ conducted in 2 weeks. In many ways the differences in the timelines result from differences in the motivation for doing a research project. Commercial market research is often conducted to answer a specific business question, which means the research has to be conducted within the timeline required by the business question – which is typically rapid. Academic research […]