I’ve just realized that I never posted by last comments from CASRO Online. Shame on me.
The organizers took the risk of placing three papers on mobile questionnaire design as the last three papers of the conference and on a Friday afternoon to boot. The risk paid off as the room was probably around three-quarters full. The last three papers (from Maritz, Burke, and Market Strategies) were all reports on experiments with different ways to present questionnaires on small mobile screens. All three were very good papers. After what seems like an eternity of hearing conference speakers talk about the challenges of the small screen and, in some cases, propose some potential ways of overcoming those challenges, it was great to see ideas driven by and tested with data.
I’m not about to announce, “And the winner is. . .” There clearly is more experimentation to be done and we can expect best practices to evolve over the next few years. But these papers were a great start. Put them together with the two papers on imputation and data fusion from the first day and you have an excellent starting point for thinking seriously about mobile questionnaire design. There were other good papers at the conference, but to my eye these five papers on mobile where the reason to be there.
I started this series of posts by describing this conference as less a place for new ideas than a place to hear the grind-it-out stories of how new ideas are implemented in the real world. God is indeed in the details. It’s fun to listen to predictions and visions, to argue about where the industry is headed and how to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs. But it’s also more than a little tiring to continually hear the equivalent of “Just Do It.” Getting from here to there is harder than it looks. One overriding message from the opening keynote to the last session was that change happens slowly in MR. Just doing it is not enough. It needs to be done right.