Challenge Yourself to Do Research That Debunks What You Think is True

I've been following the ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion and Market Research) conference which is going on this week.  Betty Adamou, our editor for the GameAccess blog is attending and reporting from the conference.

In a recent article on the ESOMAR blog, Dr. Lida Hujic that explores what's cool as defined by Generation X and Y.   Specifically she analyzes what defines cool and who is really driving what's cool.

Since the 1960's we've primarily linked youth with trend setting .  In other words, young people drive what's cool.  If you want to know what cool is, watch what younger people are doing.  This assumption has -- and continues to drive a lot of marketing and strategy.

Dr. Hujic's research shows that the younger Gen Y audience is now looking to Gen X to inspire and define coolness.  The definition of cool is transforming and becoming more of a mindset that is defined by network rather than age.

Are you Doing Research to Support What You Know or Learn New Things

This is a real light bulb moment for me because I know that I have lived under the belief that 80% of the survey results I get aren't going to surprise me -- I expect to see what I already know to be true and then I look for that 20% of insightful data that will change my world.

Dr Hujic's article showed me that I could have easily been designing research that was, indeed biased to show me what I expected to see -- rather than digging deeper and challenging my assumptions.

The lesson here is to challenge your survey structure and design.  Pick apart those questions and look for those questions or phrases that are using the research to prove a point instead of getting to real insights that will help you make marketing decisions.