Encouraging co-creation between research and respondents


Getting consumers to co-create products and advertising campaigns is gaining traction – but what about co-creation in a research setting? Can respondents play a bigger role in the design and development of research tools, techniques and projects themselves?

InSites Consulting blogged today about a new quality control initiative they’ve put in place that aims to make sure translations in multi-country surveys are up to scratch.

The company is recruiting small groups of panel members in certain countries to check that questionnaires are properly translated, that questions are formulated correctly and that the range of possible answers are appropriate for the market in question.

It’s nothing that a professional translations company couldn’t do, but it seems a neat way of expanding on the respondent experience to make them feel like a more integral part of the research process.

InSites calls these translation-checkers ‘The Watsons’, named after the sidekick of the fictional Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes – neatly summed up in a Wikipedia entry as the perfect foil for Holmes: “The ordinary man against the brilliant, emotionally-detached analytical machine”.

Sam Berteloot, InSites’ panel research director, explained in a conversation earlier today how the company also calls on the ordinary men and women of its panels to give feedback on new survey devices before they are introduced.

“The co-creation of surveys and tools with ‘real participants’ is crucial, as clients and research agencies might be biased due to their involvement,” says the company.

Note the use of the word ‘participants’ – which ties in with some comments I spied elsewhere this morning. Matt Foley of online community developer PluggedIN blogged about his wish to do away with the term ‘respondent’ and the slightly negative connotations it carries.

A valid point, perhaps – but I’d say to worry less about what you call your survey takers, and think more about how to make them real participants in the research process.

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