My lovely Baby Ruthless is coming up to one year old. He is mischievous and friendly. He commando crawls. He loves books, and anything that swings or bounces. He is big for his age and has seven teeth.
I took about ten months off work to focus on him full time: a month before he was born and then a further nine months after.
But Ruthless Research is my baby too. Another baby that I love. I have grown it and nurtured it and given it a lot of TLC. I have placed it such that it can seize every opportunity that comes its way. I have allowed it to evolve according to its own strengths. It has developed a personality and ethics and values.
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.
The Hotel Inspector is my favourite, presented by Alex Polizzi who goes into failing hotels and B&Bs, and sorts them out.
I 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.
All 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.