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.

Versta Research Post

Train Wreck Infographics

When we published our July 2014 newsletter on How to Make Spectacular Infographics, we spent some time looking for examples of poorly done infographics. Ultimately we decided to focus only on the positive “what-to-do” for infographics instead of the negative “what-not-to-do,” so we set those examples aside. Well, along comes the latest news magazine from…

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Seeing Stories Everywhere

Seeing Stories Everywhere

There’s nothing worse than having your research be a pile of numbers with no obvious story. Or maybe there is. What if every random set of numbers told a story?  Or, worse yet, what if our brains could find a story in every random set of numbers, even if a story is not there?  There…

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Versta Research Post

Telltale Signs of a Pointless Poll

[SEE CARTOON] Of course those 99% keep reading the pointless polls, and most research firms are happy to keep generating pointless polls. The problem? Too few research firms are willing and able to help clients differentiate a survey that is informative and truly worthy of print, versus one that is pointless. So how do you…

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Math for Journalists

Math for Journalists

Communicating statistics is sometimes harder than doing statistics. While statistics is all about formulas and logic and precision, words and sentences are all about communicating layers of meaning that are often ambiguous and nuanced. For this reason we often recommend a quick, online refresher course called “Math for Journalists” for our PR, marketing, and journalism…

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How to Label Your 10-Point Scale

How to Label Your 10-Point Scale

By which we really mean How to Label Your 11-Point Scale because you shouldn’t be using 10-point scales. Plenty of research shows that numeric scales going from 1 to 10 (ten points) are less effective than numeric scales going from 0 to 10 (eleven points). A recently published article in Survey Practice adds more evidence…

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Don’t Bare It All with Your Data

Don’t Bare It All with Your Data

Try as we might, most of us are guilty of cramming too much data into our research reports and presentations. But why is this so bad? Can’t we help the reader along with executive summaries and a concise narrative in headlines, and all the extra stuff pushed into appendices? Why not offer details and high…

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Versta Research Post

M.I.T. Engineer Flunks Stats

You would think that the chancellor of a prestigious school like M.I.T.—a university that prides itself on practical applications of mathematics—would know something about how probabilities work with survey sampling.  Apparently not.  Quoting a New York Times article about M.I.T.’s survey of students about sexual assault on campus:

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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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