Scientific Method

What is the scientific method, and how does it relate to insights and market research?

Posted by Ray Poynter, 22 April 2017 I often hear people grumble that researchers, marketers and insights professionals have forgotten (or have never learned) the ‘scientific method’. However, there is usually very little discussion about what the scientific method is and how it should be applied. In this post, I am going to share a definition of the scientific method and discuss how it can be applied to the process of finding insights in commercial organisations. A dictionary definition: Here is a definition of the scientific method from the American Merriam Webster dictionary: “Principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.” The definition is a start, but it is not a road map for teaching or using the scientific method, so let’s map it out and then explore how to use it. Scientific Method Flow Chart The scientific method uses systematic processes to move from the need to solve a problem, via the creation of a hypothesis (or hypotheses), to testing the usefulness of the hypothesis. The flow chart below spells out the key steps in […]

Let’s protect the basic truths of market research methodology

I have just been reading an article about social media as a potential replacement for traditional market research on Research-Live and it made me want to scream!!! As the founder of NewMR I am a fan of new techniques, I was one of the first to use CAPI, one of the first to use simulated test markets, one of the first to use online research, and one of the first to use MROCs – and I wrote The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research. But, there are some basic rules we all need to stick to if we are to assess new tools. We need to be able to tell clients whether they are the same, worse, better, or different to existing tools, when to have confidence in them and when not to. To do that assessment we need to stick to some very basic rules – and the rules are different for qual and quant. Here are a few of my key rules for quant research. A big sample is not a population. In the Research-Live article Mark Westaby said, about the UK, “We track tweets from millions of unique supermarkets users, who in fact represent between 1 […]