OnePoll has been conducting international research for almost a decade, during which time we have made enhancements to our processes, and how we approach and manage multi-country projects.
We asked our team of researchers to share some nuggets of advice for conducting effective global research – here are some simple but crucial tips…
International projects are an investment of time and money, so you want to ensure you’re investing wisely. These types of projects can be highly complex and require strong attention to detail to help eliminate any inaccuracies in your research. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you ensure your research company are members of ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion and Marketing) and their team of researchers are members of the MRS (Market Research Society). Having your own personal project manager dedicated to your study, who is also a member of the MRS helps to ensure your study complies with standard market research procedures, allowing you to have confidence in the stats you get back.
It’s important to remember when polling different countries that what might make a good story in the UK, might not be relevant elsewhere. For example, whilst Holly Willoughby and Ant and Dec are often top of the celebrity polls UK side, they are likely to be fairly unknown in other countries. Similarly, gender, age or regional stereotypes may simply not translate in another country or culture.
With international projects, it is likely you have more than one survey to go into the field. This means you need to allow extra time for each one to complete. It’s important to think about the different time zones of each country you are polling.
The US is at least 5 hours behind us so you can expect a US study to take an extra day to complete. Complex projects such as these not only require a lengthy upload process but you also need to factor in time for translations from English into the language of your chosen countries and back again (if required). It is imperative that you employ a company that will give you accurate and realistic time frames for your project, with concise breakdowns of what you can expect to receive and when.
When it comes to translating your questionnaire into other languages, you cannot afford to get it wrong.
Whilst simple free translation options are available online, the correct meaning of the words can often be misinterpreted. Using a well-established and trusted translation team who offer cost effective and rapid translation services will ensure your audience fully understands the content and context of your research, which in turn assures more accurate stats.
Don’t forget that some countries have more than one language or dialect. And if any of your questions have a monetary value to them, you will need to decide how you want to interpret the results. i.e. will you want the local currency converted back into Pound Sterling, for comparison and relevancy in the UK, or will you keep figures in the local currency?
How do you want to receive your data? What comparisons are you looking to make? What type of format will your questions be?
These are good examples of questions you need to ask before you jump head first into an international project. Are you looking for individual country reports, or are you looking to make a global statement i.e. ‘X percent of Europeans think Y’ or both?
You must be mindful that certain question types may require extra work. For example, it is difficult to determine the volume or quality of answers that panelists will give to ‘free text’ questions – these types of results may require more time spent on translation. Your research company should be able to help set up your project in the most accurate way for your needs.
Whilst standard Excel data tables are easy to read, you can make more of your data by visualising the stats and creating materials you can show off to clients and stakeholders.
Add interest and colour to your results with a report that includes images, graphics, research highlights and a bespoke design that meets your brand guidelines. If you don’t need all that, why not add an infographic to make your international study more relatable and eye catching.