Social Research

NSF Consulting provides social research services to explore motivations, behaviour, needs, opinions and attitudes. We help clients address an issue or idea that will ultimately help reduce risk in their decision making process. We tell clients what they need to know to enable them to make sound decisions, not necessarily just what they want to hear.

Our clients commission social research projects for one of a number of reasons, including:

  • to explore motivations and barriers to engagement amongst their communities or stakeholders;
  • to understand how to increase customer, staff and stakeholder satisfaction;
  • to improve stakeholder or community engagement strategies by identifying stakeholder drivers;
  • to increase the effectiveness of messages, communications and social marketing strategies;
  • to explore opportunities for new positioning strategies;
  • to test a new program or idea amongst they key target audience; or
  • to gather evidence to support the case for the need for continued government funding.

We work closely with clients to design the most appropriate approach to the research. We use well tested qualitative and quantitative research tools as well as digital technology and social media to collect additional information and monitor informal conversations and ideas. We know how to select the most appropriate tools for each project, how to ask the right questions of the right people and how to find meaning in the results. We are conscious of clients’ budgets and adopt the most cost-effective techniques that are appropriate to the project.

Our research tools include the following:

Focus groups

An informal discussion about a particular topic with a small number of selected participants (usually between eight to 10). The discussion is guided by a skilled facilitator who does not influence the outcome, but rather, ensures that the discussion covers all relevant topics and includes the views of all participants in the group.

In-depth interviews

One-on-one discussion about a particular topic, with the opportunity to explore the topic in considerable depth. In-depth interviews are appropriate when researching topics of sensitive nature, or when it is necessary to explore personal stories. Interviews may be conducted by telephone or in person.

Online surveys

A cost-effective and flexible option of reaching stakeholders or community members who either have a valid email address or can who can access an online survey via social media or a central website. Visual stimulus material can be used to test concepts and ideas and there is no limit to sample sizes.

Data mining

Data is extracted from websites, analysed from different angles, categorised and collated for analysis. It can involve following online conversations about a place or topic on a range of social media sites as well as on the internet. It is particularly useful when set up over the lifetime of a long-term project to keep up with trends relating to a particular topic.

Intercept/ exit interviews

Conducted at cultural venues, a cross section of visitors are interviewed to gather information about their visit.

Visitor tracking

Observations of visitors at museums, galleries or other cultural institutions to observe how they interact with the space and its content. Accompanied walk-throughs are conducted to enable visitors to provide a running commentary about why they make particular choices on their visit.

Our approach

Our focus is on providing a bespoke approach to each and every project, based on understanding in depth what the client wants to know, why they need to know it and ultimately, what they intend to do with the findings. Sometimes it is this process in itself that clarifies in in the mind of the client the important areas for exploration, and the reason for commissioning the research. When clients are clear to themselves and to us about how they intend to use the research findings, the project can be designed with clear aims in mind, which avoids asking extraneous questions of respondents and can ultimately keep the costs of the project down. The outcome is that the findings report is focused, succinct, and usable.

All of our projects are conducted and managed by Natalie Fisher, with input from other senior consultants if necessary. Natalie remains involved in all aspects of the project, including proposal writing, recruitment of respondents, interviews, report writing, analysis, presentation of findings and project management. NSF Consulting operates according to the Australian Market and Social Research (AMSRS) Code of Professional Behaviour, including responsibilities to respondents, researchers’ professional responsibilities and researchers’ and clients’ mutual rights and responsibilities.

NSF’s approach was effective and managed smoothly in our tight time frame. Natalie delivered qualitative and quantitative research that we will continue to use in our design and development of the sustainable business program for the region. Danielle Domone, Project Co-ordinator, Sustainable Business, North Shore Project, Willoughby Council
Natalie's work was careful, well-thought out and professionally conducted. The report was thorough, clear and timely. As a result of this research, the National Museum changed its direction in relation to this promotional communication. I would have no hesitation in recommending Natalie's market research services. Georgia Conduit, Deputy Manager, Marketing and Sponsorship, National Museum of Australia