We believe that research should serve you. We specialize in collecting and presenting research in ways that increase understanding and insight.
We promise that we will not produce reports and charts that require a microscope and Ph.D. in statistics to understand. We are committed to bringing simplicity, clarity and insight to our relationships.
The appropriate research methodology will depend on the specific needs of the client. Below are different approaches that include primary (e.g., surveys) and secondary (e.g., academic papers) research tools.
1.) Mail-out/mail-back surveys - When most people think of questionnaires, they think of the mail survey. All of us have, at one time or another, received a questionnaire in the mail. There are many advantages to mail surveys. They are relatively inexpensive to administer. You can send the exact same instrument to a wide number of people. They allow the respondent to fill it out at their own convenience. But there are some disadvantages as well. Response rates from mail surveys are sometimes low and the approach can suffer from ‘non-response bias’.
Mail surveys usually take several weeks to be returned after being sent. Normally, a cover letter describing the purpose of the study, the survey, and a postage-paid return envelope are all included in the mailing. Upon receiving the surveys, the data from the forms is entered into the computer for further analysis.
2) Email invitation surveys - An email invitation survey is similar to the mail survey methodology, except that email is used to deliver the invitation and the survey. Using a list of email addresses, we carefully craft the invitation, including the subject line, for maximum "click-through" to the survey itself. The link to the web page hosting the survey is embedded into the email, with instructions on how to reach the survey. Email invitation surveys are quick and cost effective. Without the printing, postage, and data entry cost associated with mail surveys, email invitations are typically less expensive to administer. Additionally, the turn-around time on results is much faster, making the email invitation methodology ideal for clients needing fast results.
3) Intercept surveys - Intercept surveys are a far more personal form of research than mail or email questionnaires. In the personal interview, the interviewer works directly with the respondent. Unlike with mail surveys, the interviewer has the opportunity to probe or ask follow-up questions. And, interviews are generally easier for the respondent, especially if what is sought is opinions or impressions. Interviews can be very time consuming and they are resource intensive. However, intercept surveys are most accurate in terms of ensuring that a representative sample of the population is obtained. The interviewer is considered a part of the measurement instrument and interviewers have to be well trained in how to respond to any contingency.
4) Focus Groups - A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. Focus groups are an excellent research vehicle to dig deeper into subjective issues and get feedback on more complex problems. Atkinson Consulting has extensive experience managing such groups and eliciting honest, specific, and relevant opinions from the participants.
5) Other Forms of Research - Atkinson Consulting specializes in melding a variety of research tools to meet your needs. Often a combination of primary and secondary research is the optimal approach in order to get a deep, thorough understanding of your environment. Each program will be customized according to your budget, timeframe, existing data, and other variables.
Contact us to discuss your research needs and how we can help you.