The 3MC Conference has been very interesting with lots of good presentations on things I know very little about. Mostly we've been hearing about large, ongoing, publicly funded global surveys that are executed by government agencies, the usual public sector focused private companies (e.g., Westat), and in some instances by global MR firms. The people executing these surveys have done a lot of good research on research and developed a lot of excellent processes to support what they do. The challenge is to figure out how to adapt this to ad hoc MR research on mercilessly short time frames.
Take the case of translation. Most of these folks are advocating a six step process for a well-translated standard questionnaire that works well in multiple languages, in different societies, and in different cultures:
- Expert review
- Final adjudication
- Pretest typically via cognitive interviewing
They have data that show that the lion's share of the problems are found in steps 2 and 3, but the hard stuff, the cultural stuff, generally shows up in step 5.
I have not asked the question: How long does this process take? The relevant question for us would more likely be: How quickly can we do this? I was chatting with someone from Harris Interactive about this and asked if they had a process anywhere near this systematic and if so how did they get it done on our short timeframes. The answer: "No and it's very scary." I can relate.