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.

24,000 Absurd Insights from Big Data

A vivid illustration of a statistically spurious relationship is this: People who wear hats tend to drive slower.  But there is no causal relationship, as hats don’t cause people to drive slower.  It’s just that older people wear hats more than younger people, and older people tend to drive slower. That’s actually kind of interesting,…

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How to Get Outstanding Open-End Responses

How to Get Outstanding Open-End Responses

Getting good responses to open-ended questions via online surveys is a challenge.  So much so, that new technologies have evolved to probe on responses just as live interviewers used to probe people on phone surveys.  But can you get really outstanding open-end responses to online surveys without fancy technology? The answer is yes, it just…

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Versta Research Post

Write a Better Survey Invitation

Survey invitations are like elevator pitches.  You’ve got 30 seconds (or fewer) to grab attention and convince a reader that it’s worth investing time to take your survey.  Survey response rates are declining, but there are easy ways to cut through the clutter and boost your own. Here is a before-and-after example of a survey…

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Versta Research Post

Research Good Enough for Judicial Review

I recently came across this strange big book, the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, compiled by the Federal Judicial Center and the National Research Council.  It’s not fun reading, but it provides an enormously useful and fascinating overview of what makes social and marketing research (and other kinds of scientific research, too) sufficiently rigorous to…

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Sorry, Algorithms Are Not Insights

Sorry, Algorithms Are Not Insights

A persistent misperception in our industry is that technology can (or eventually will) largely automate our work. It reflects a fundamental confusion between the tools that we use versus the work that we do. This confusion was evident in a recent New York Times article about the surprising amount of time that data scientists devote…

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Who’s Your Data Janitor?

Who’s Your Data Janitor?

I’ve always felt suspicious of consultants who claim to spend the bulk of their time solving business problems and offering insights and, by the way, they also do market research.  Then I get a look at their research, and my suspicions are confirmed.  So often the data is a MESS—an absolute mess that baffles me…

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Bogus Changes in Tracking Studies

Bogus Changes in Tracking Studies

The next time you analyze the results of your customer satisfaction or brand loyalty tracking study, and you notice an upward or downward shift, ask yourself this: Is it reasonable to think that certain customers—either the happy ones or the unhappy ones—were more willing to give you their opinions than the other group? If so,…

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Why We Don’t Use Qualtrics

Why We Don’t Use Qualtrics

It’s the data.  We want it all.  And to be fair, this article is less about Qualtrics, and more about what makes for truly good and rigorous research.  It just turns out that Qualtrics is the one tool that makes it more difficult and more expensive to do that kind of research than any others…

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Why Phone Surveys Are Almost Dead

Why Phone Surveys Are Almost Dead

Telephones used to be an awesome way to find a random sample of Americans.  Nearly all Americans had a home telephone, nearly everybody would answer if you called, and most were willing to answer survey questions to help researchers understand public opinion. In fact, telephones have been so central to scientific survey research that the…

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