Versta Research Blog

Versta Research Blog

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Versta Research is a marketing research and public opinion polling firm that helps you answer critical questions with customized research and analytical expertise.

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Versta Research Blog

Explore industry trends, research methods, and tips for your own research projects in the Versta Research Blog. All opinions are our own, and some may change over time.

First time reader? Check out the Best of the Blog for the most popular posts from almost 10 years of blogging. We’re glad you’re here.

A Quick Puzzle for Market Research Brains

A Quick Puzzle for Market Research Brains

We have just published the Versta Research Fall 2015 Newsletter, offering an interactive puzzle to test your analytical skills as a research brain. It is based on a fascinating study published half a century ago in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. When I first encountered the puzzle it stuck in my mind for quite…

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Gallup Gives Up as Phone Surveys Fail

Gallup Gives Up as Phone Surveys Fail

If ever there were evidence that phone surveys are dead, it’s this: Gallup, the undisputed king of telephone polling for decades, has withdrawn from the race. The firm announced last week that it will not conduct candidate polling for the 2016 presidential election. This comes after the miserable failure of its polling in 2012, which…

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Tricks for Getting Truthful Respondents

Tricks for Getting Truthful Respondents

Difficult or lengthy surveys require hefty incentives, which unfortunately makes it tempting for some respondents to lie. We are facing this predicament in a survey right now. The survey requires two people from the same household who share household finances to complete parallel surveys. We are recruiting from an online research panel. Person 1 gets…

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Here's When Pie Charts Work

Here’s When Pie Charts Work

For every research rule or best practice I proclaim, I find myself doing the opposite eventually. Such is the case with pie charts. I try to avoid them, taking to heart Edward Tufte’s claim that they are dumb and should never be used. Studies show that pie charts do a poor job helping readers grasp…

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Read Your Questionnaires Out Loud

Read Your Questionnaires Out Loud

In our experience, the people who write the best questionnaires are researchers who spend their time immersed in complex survey methods and quantitative analysis but who focused on qualitative research earlier in their careers. Why? Because they are deeply sensitive to the dual objectives of survey design, namely: (1) Elicit data in specific ways and…

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Versta Research Post

Finding the Story and Getting It Noticed

In the months leading up to this year’s Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Wells Fargo worked with Versta Research on a national survey of LGBT Americans. The goal was to understand how changes in marriage laws were affecting decisions about money and marriage. What did we learn about LGBT Americans? Here are two nuggets…

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Defending Your Online Samples in Court

Defending Your Online Samples in Court

Having jumped back into the 1,016-page Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence from the Federal Judicial Center and the National Research Council (see last week’s article on Defending Your Statistics in Court), I keep finding fascinating nuggets of information worth sharing with our marketing and research colleagues of all stripes. Consider this snippet from the section…

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Defending Your Statistics in Court

Defending Your Statistics in Court

There is nothing worse than presenting research findings to an audience predisposed to hate it. Maybe you’ve had that experience of being in a boardroom of hostile managers? They don’t like what you’re about to say, so they pick at every methodological decision, shifting focus away from the story that the data have to tell.…

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The Problem with Fancy Segmentation

The Problem with Fancy Segmentation

Segmenting customers into subsets that have unique needs, interests, and priorities makes a lot of sense. The more obvious the segments are, the more it makes sense, so a priori segments are best. Big companies in one segment, small companies in another. Retirees in one segment, college students in another. You don’t need fancy K-means…

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Get Rid of Those Survey Speeders

Get Rid of Those Survey Speeders

If you found that 10% of your online survey respondents were ignoring your questions, generating random data, and there was an easy way to identify who those respondents were, what would you do? I hope you would delete them, go back to the field, and replace them. But for some reason there are those among…

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