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Introducing baby Ruthless

June 24, 2014


I’m pleased to introduce my son, Arran, who was born six weeks early on 20th May 2014 weighing 4lb1oz.  Arran spent three weeks in the special care unit learning to breathe and eat at the same time, but he is a resilient little thing and sailed through all that with no problems.

Arran is now well settled in at home and is piling on the weight.

I’ll be taking a break from blogging and consultancy for a few months to look after Arran, but do keep me in the loop and I’ll be back later on in the year.

Read about new SRN research from Ruthless Research

June 10, 2014

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with SRN (Scottish Recovery Network) on an exciting piece of research to identify current issues relating to recovery from mental health problems, and explore what could come next for the recovery movement.

You can read all about it here.

Please do stop by to look at the article and browse the rest of the site.

Market Research Love on Youtube

June 3, 2014


With thanks to Laetitia Smith I happened upon a very special Youtube video called Market Research Love – three guys who have written and performed a song about why they love the market research industry.

As they delightfully croon themselves, “This is a market research love song.  We’re pretty sure its gotta be the first one.’

Why have they done this?  I know not.

But they have but quite a bit of effort in and they know their market research.

So, erm, check it out?


Why I aspire to be more like Alex Polizzi

May 20, 2014

alex_polizzi_0I’ve mentioned before that I like to watch TV at lunchtime.  When I’m not watching real-life TV I like to watch business shows – primarily celebrity fix-its.

The Hotel Inspector is my favourite, presented by Alex Polizzi who goes into failing hotels and B&Bs, and sorts them out.

Read more…

How can you be sure I’m not making up data?

May 6, 2014

2013-04-03I was once teaching a class on research methods, and a student asked me how they could be sure I wasn’t just making up the findings.  People are cynical about research at the best of times so I suppose this question shouldn’t have surprised me.  But it did.

I have never made up research findings.  I hope I don’t need to say that.

My job is to be a research expert – to plan, conduct and report back on research and to use this information to help organisations to make evidence-based decisions.  I’ve been doing this for almost twelve years now for a variety of organisations, and it has always been quite straightforward.  There’s a process, and systems, and the industry is set up to collect data ethically and demonstrate that you’ve done so.

It has never even crossed my mind to make up data.

Read more…

The research equivalent of stage fright

April 22, 2014

2008-10-23All of the research projects that I undertake are carefully planned and executed in collaboration with my clients.  Everything I do is based on a combination of good research practice and a consultancy approach to ensure that I deliver something useful and usable for my clients, which should help them to make genuine evidence-based decisions.  I spend weeks or months planning and gathering data, and I keep my clients informed about the progress throughout.

We talk about reporting requirements, maybe more than once – usually at the Briefing meeting and at the point where I’m starting to write the report.  We talk about style and content and audience and page count.  There should be no real surprises when it comes to receiving it, it should be the culmination of a well understood process in a pre-agreed format.

… and yet… every time I hand in a report I’m terrified as I wait for the feedback.

… which can take weeks…

I worry that once the client sees the report in front of them it won’t be what they want.

I don’t have a point to make with this blog post, just a little insight into my life.

Reporting your use of incentives

April 8, 2014


I’m always happy to oblige with answering questions from my readers.  This search landed on my blog the other day:

“Do you have to report any incentives given to study participants?”

When it comes to research, an incentive is (according to the Market Research Society) “any benefit offered to respondents to encourage participation in a project”.  I’ve written about incentives before, here, so click to find out more.

My reader is wondering: when it comes to writing up the findings to a research project, is it necessary to say whether and what respondents were given to persuade them to participate?

Good question.

Read more…


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