The Power of the Opinion Giver
written by Jackie Lorch
Today, the power is in the hands of the opinion giver. The old top-down research structure, where we expect people to answer our questions the way we dictate, has been replaced by a collaborative relationship. Now researchers must adapt to participants and find ways to fit into their lives. This power shift suggests that outdated terms like “respondent” should be permanently retired and replaced by “participant” or something similar. But more importantly, the experience for people giving their opinions needs to be the starting point for creating every project. If the opinion giver’s experience is central to project planning, surveys should look very different than most of them do today. For example, wasting people’s time by terminating them from a study after a dozen questions is a practice that is less and less acceptable to modern participants. Likewise, asking location or demographic questions is unnecessary, since the sample provider has the information and can supply it in real time. Introducing as standard practice the requirement that three people take a survey before it is finalized—and give feedback on their satisfaction—would contribute hugely to a better participant experience. There is great benefit to researchers in improving the survey experience. There’s a connection between having happy, engaged participants and achieving actionable research results.