Expert Advice: Should You Do DIY Research?

A buzzword circling the qualitative research industry right now is DIY research. If you’re not familiar with the term, it basically refers to research done by the client-side researcher, not a research firm. Advancements in technology and easy-to-use online research software have made DIY research possible, but that doesn’t mean research firms are going to become obsolete. To get to the bottom of this issue, we talked to Paul Ponsford, market research analyst at Delta Faucet Company. Paul does some of his own research in-house, but he still outsources the vast majority to dedicated research firms, so we thought he’d be a good person to talk to about this new trend in DIY research. We interviewed him for an article “Questions to Ask Before Considering a DIY Research Project.” Here’s a sample of what he had to say:

  • To succeed with DIY research, you have to have the resources (read: manpower) and the knowledge to pull it off. Make sure you have both in place before starting a DIY project, unless, of course, you want low-quality results.
  • DIY research is great when you need maximum control and want to stay close to your customers. If your research project involves these things, a client-side researcher might consider taking the project in-house — but ONLY if the resources and knowledge are there (see his first point).
  • Don’t go DIY if you’re worried about bias — even if it’s just the perception of bias. “We’re at a point where we’re pretty good when it comes to avoiding bias, but there are still some projects that I definitely want an objective third-party researcher,” he explains of the research he and his team conduct for Delta.

What do you think about DIY research? We would love to hear both from professional researchers and those of you on the client side.

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