You’ve reached a major milestone in your research project. But the fun’s not over just yet.
Next up, you need to dig into your data to find those all-important insights that you’ll take back to your colleagues.
Here are some essential steps to take when you’re ready to dive into your data.
Search for demographics that over- or under-index
If your research covers a broad audience, you’ll be able to search for outlying demographic groups.
With a wider population to compare each demographic to, you can toggle filters on and off to figure out which demographic groups vary the most from the overall results (or at least if the insights buck stereotypes or expectations).
Keep an eye out for results where demographics over- or under-index from the average. It’s these points that add color to your understanding of consumers, bringing them to life as people with real opinions that vary from the norm.
You can use this information in loads of different ways, but what it will reveal is the most interesting opportunities for you to explore—perhaps in relation to a certain demographic.
Cross-tab for rich[er] insights
Another way to spot points of interest is by using ‘cross-tabs’.
If consumer attitudes or behaviors aren’t divided cleanly by their demographic segments then there might be insights lurking in the answers respondents give.
For this, you’ll need to review your insights at the question level, rather than the demographic level. Without meaning to blow our own trumpet, we actually built this feature into our platform. When you click a specific answer option, you’ll be able to see how people who chose that option (and therefore think or behave in a certain way) answered the rest of the survey.
Here’s an example of a crosstab—AKA results breakdown—on the Attest dashboard…
Compare over time
Because consumer attitudes and behaviors shift continually, it’s rare that a single survey will give you an accurate long-term view.
Consider ‘trackers’—replica surveys that are run at regular intervals. This generates data over a period of time, and allows you to witness fluctuations on consumer sentiment and behavior over time.
Use ‘line charts’ to track these fluctuations over time to create a clear sense of trends, or the ‘direction of travel’ of certain insights. You and colleagues can effectively see the way the market is moving (and plan for the future to stay ahead of it).
Follow up on anything surprising
No matter how much preparation you put into your research project, you can’t predict which insights will emerge.
If your research uncovers something really surprising, or leaves you with more questions than you started with—great! That means you’ve gathered some genuinely thought-provoking data that really challenges your hypothesis.
And it certainly doesn’t mean your initial research was pointless. The opposite is true! Often it’s the surprising learnings that end up being the most valuable. Scientists yearn for their work to open up more areas of exploration. So you’re basically a scientist at this point. Well done you.
The Consumer Research Academy is brought to you by the Customer Research Team—our in-house research experts. Any research questions? Email or chat with the team.