The changing face of research

Technology has bought research from the world of pen and paper surveys to the digitally recorded and machine analyzed. Right from collecting data to the presentation of findings, everything is quick, concise, and available at a click. Everyday new tools are emerging and replacing the traditional method of conducting research.

While in traditional research, customers and prospects used to be the target, and data collection happens using face-to-face Interviews and surveys. In the current digital world, buying, watching, search habits, etc. is defining the persona of a person which is a target. How we behave digitally has become more important than what we answer in a particular survey question. Data retrieved from the apps installed on our smartphones tell more about us which usually we don’t admit or say. The devices that we use – be it handheld or laptop, fitness gadgets, etc. examine our habits’ patterns and provide input to the researchers. Access and uses of significant data sources are widening with the help of the latest tools and technologies.

These new-age methods of identifying suitable consumers not only are more reliant but also are timesaving. Marketers today need real-time availability of insights for quick decision-making. The analysis of the information collected is not limited to regular findings using survey analysis tools. It is now also based on Machine-learning models, Natural language processing, etc through which the results are both faster and quicker.

The final delivery of information is also changing face with earlier being only as a report presentation using PowerPoint, Word, or Excel sheets to live data streaming dashboards. These customized dashboards are available on mobile devices too. The right time research is evolving as real-time research.

With all these advancements, there are also some inherent challenges in the transition. Lack of required talent is one of them – there is no formal training available to train on modern research techniques. The only source is the internet, and the availability of humongous information on the internet is scary and confusing for learning the advanced and upcoming tools or technologies. Validation of information present on the internet becomes difficult for the researcher. Another critical challenge is the selection of the right tools from multiple new-age options. Every means and method has its pros and cons. It is essential to understand any particular tools or method’s strengths and weaknesses before using it. Some specific techniques might be useful for one type of research but it can be disastrous for another.

Thus, while educating the industry about the new techniques and equipping the current researchers with the latest tools and right skills is the hour’s need.

(The above article was published as an Abstract at ICMIT2019 conference)

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