The Survey Oracle vs. The Planned Research Instrument

The planned research instrument involves following a process that leads to more helpful and actionable research results. We provide services to clients with all levels of knowledge about survey research and some follow proven research processes but others who may not be experienced are usually doing their best to satisfy internal pressure to produce research even if they do not understand survey research methodology. This can lead to assuming if one makes a survey, the answers will come.

This is where what I call “the oracle approach” is born. By oracle approach, think more Never-Ending Story, less relational cloud databases. This is when you create a survey based on random questions you and your team have, and not by establishing objectives before writing the questions. When questions are hurled at a survey design without having a specific action in mind of what is going to be done with that data, the results from that survey usually end up not being utilized as efficiently as a survey that has questions written based on goals and objectives. In fact, you may just end up with a pile of useless information with a few hints of what is wrong. The oracle approach predisposes research stakeholders to take turns at shouting towards the data they collected saying something like: “Oh survey oracle, tell me the reasons our ads aren’t connecting, and that no one trusts our brand” the data in turn gives you nothing because no one planned ahead first to ensure there was an objective designed for measuring channel effectiveness or measuring brand trust.

Effective survey research analysis is a result of pre-planning and good communication, not something you do and then find out afterwards whether or not it will supply you with direction on which actions to take. Do yourself a favor and make that boring bulleted list of research goals and then make sure all other stakeholders on your team have contributed and approved your goals before you start writing your questionnaire. We guarantee you’ll achieve a better result.