Rules-of-ResearchMy lecturers would tear up my degrees if they saw the research project I’m doing with IABC/Seattle.

There was no written literature review, no demographic questions in the survey, and only two survey questions. It is the most successful research I have done.

The two questions ask what the chapter most wants to know from the members: which services do they like most, and which they could do without.

While this initially appears too simplistic, it’s supported by 16 hours of data analysis and a 50mb spreadsheet. One of the aims was to get honest answers from the 150 local members. We decided we could only get that with total anonymity. Having such a small population meant any demographic data would link responses with members. Plus, we got the demographic data from the 50mb spreadsheet.

I walked into the final approval meeting ready for a fight. I had my arguments ready, and while untraditional, I stand by them.

So the survey is short to fit with our members’ limited time and so far the response rate exceeds my expectations. It also confirms my suspicions.

As a bonus, Whitney Keys of Seattle PI agrees with keeping it simple and breaking the rules of research. Thanks for your support, Whitney.

The lesson from this is to look at your goals and audience and find a way to make it work – even if it means breaking the rules of research.

Photo credit: Nate Bolt via Flickr

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