market research

Oct 6 2016

To measure or not to measure

We often feel we need to assign value to something, to be sure we know if it has merit or worth. The field of evaluation is embedded in processes of measurement, be that qualitative or quantitative, or a combination of both methods. Social research, too, is similarly participating in the debate about what can––or should––be […]

Read more
Sep 14 2016

Community Panels: consistent consultation in small regional towns

Consulting with communities over the long-term in small regional towns in Australia presents similar challenges to consultation in cities. How do you target the right people for consultation? How do you keep people engaged for long-term projects?
 It is a myth that small towns folk have more time on their hands than their busy city […]

Read more
Aug 17 2016

Data Saturation – numbers left out in the rain, or something else?

Data saturation is a term used in research to indicate that no new information is expected to be added that will enhance or change the findings of a study. Data saturation is important to achieve. It is reached when there is enough information to replicate the study, when the ability of obtain additional new information […]

Read more
Jul 27 2016

Cause and effect. Is qualitative evidence legitimate?

The exploration of causal pathways is compelling in evaluation and sometimes central. Investigating cause and effect and can be the only way of providing evidence that a program or initiative can be directly attributable to a particular outcome. To understand causal pathways is useful in telling a story of a program and is essential in […]

Read more
Jun 30 2016

Triangulation – cross checking research findings

An important consideration when conducting research and evaluation is whether you can rely on your data as being a true portrayal of the views or position of your population of interest. It is important to be sure that the findings being presented have not been unintentionally skewed because of how the questions were asked, or […]

Read more
Jun 22 2016

Professionalisation of an industry. Is it important?

I belong to two professional bodies: the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS) and the Australasian Evaluation Society (AES). Despite having about 15 years’ experience working in these two fields, I recently acquired a professional qualification from one of these bodies and am working towards acquiring a professional qualification from the other. The professionalisation […]

Read more
May 19 2016

Is all error bad?

  Evaluation and research inquiries are about exploring the truth, about difference- also known as ‘variance’. For example: What are the different ways that this program or service delivered its outcomes? How did different community groups differ in their perception of the new client service? These are both fairly common evaluative questions. And common to […]

Read more
Apr 15 2016

Theory-based evaluation – addressing an evaluation deficit

Evaluations conducted in the field of arts and cultural initiatives in Australia are often critiqued for their methodologically weakness. Concerns amongst peers and academics have included their reliance on small sample sizes, anecdotal evidence, limited hypothesis testing and little attention to the examination of internal program mechanisms with the aim of looking for causal factors […]

Read more
Feb 1 2016

How do you decide who to recruit for your research?

Typically, evaluation and research is about human beings. Our focus of interest is often users of programs or initiatives. They may be individuals, social groups, special interest groups, clubs, companies, cities or countries. We need to identify people willing to provide their experiences, thoughts, ratings, assessments, or other input into the topic of interest. But […]

Read more
Jan 21 2016

Numbers or words? The qualitative vs quantitative debate

Over the past 20 years or so, a debate over the relative virtues of quantitative and qualitative methodology has gained considerable momentum. In the field of social research and evaluation, quantitative research has been considered as the more ‘traditional’ approach to addressing a research question. Decades ago, researchers advocating for the use of qualitative methods […]

Read more