Featured Researchers: Q&A Session with SSI’s Kristin Cavallaro

By the Editors

In honor of SSI’s 40th anniversary, we are sitting down with some of the organization’s employees to ask them a few questions about their years of experience in the MR industry.  

Kristin Cavallaro is a Knowledge and Data Analysis Specialist at SSI. She has a love for data both big and small and is constantly looking for new ways to apply data-related methods to improve sampling and survey research. Over the years, Kristin has presented at a number of conferences such as CASRO (Now the Insights Association), AAPOR and ARF. She has also authored articles for such publications as Quirk’s Market Research Review and Planung and Analyse.

Q (the editors): What is the first thing you do when you look at a new data set?

A (Kristin Cavallaro): The first thing I do when I receive a new data set is to figure out what it is that I’m looking at. I look at the how the data was collected, what the variables are and what the analytic goals are for the project. This helps me to build my analysis plan while aligning to the needs of the study. I also like to do my own validations on the data. This may be spot-checking the data against known values in a database or it may be running some summary statistics to make sure the that everything add up and makes sense.

Q: What mode of data collection do you feel is the most ideal in 2017?

A: This is a tough one. I think it largely depends on the objectives of the study. However, I feel that surveys are still very effective at tackling a variety of research objectives. If we take this a step further and pair this data with known transactional data, we get a more holistic view of the “why, how, when, where, what.”

Q: What do you think are your most significant research accomplishments?

A: I think my most significant accomplishment so far has been developing the “SSI Blend.” This is my “baby” that took years to develop and perfect, but has also become a major component of SSI’S sourcing strategy. This project also helped convinced me to go back to school for a graduate degree in statistics which opened the door to a whole new skill set and opportunity in my career.  I also am honored that I have had to opportunity to present at industry conferences and share my research and love of data with others.

Q: Why would someone come to SSI over the competition?

A: Because SSI is awesome!! In all honesty, SSI is great at what it does. We have an excellent team of people that will work together to get your job done. We can help to consult with you to make a study as great as it can be. Our diversity and global footprint means that we can help in ways that others can’t when it comes to international research and reach, but also in understanding cultural impacts to questions and methods.  

Q: What do you like to do when you’re off the clock?

A: I am a huge outdoors person. When I’m not working I am probably working in my yard or garden, taking my dogs for a walk, kayaking, hiking, snowmobiling (in the winter of course), line dancing, or anything else that keeps me active and busy. I even make my own maple syrup even though I much prefer the “fake” stuff.  I also love creating:  I love to crochet, paint, and build things. I am slowing building my own little woodworking shop in my basement so I can play with power tools 🙂

Q: What role would you play in a group of 20 people in a post-apocalyptic scenario?

A: I would think of myself as a provider. I enjoying fishing, foraging, gardening, cooking, and making things. I would be the one making nets, bedding, and clothing out of vines and grass or scavenging materials to build shelter, tools, and weapons. However, if you asked my friends, they would tell you that I would be that annoying person that constantly reminds everyone of our odds of survival every time we leave our shelter.

Q: How do you think market research will evolve over the next 40 years?

A: I’m sure there will be this amazing new advance in technology that we can’t even imagine yet. I think we will still be asking questions. Although the questions may be shorter and more targeted based on the amount of stored data we will have on consumers. I also think that our sophistication with big data, AI, and predictive/prescriptive modeling will increase significantly.

Fun facts about Kristin:

  • I make homemade wine with my boyfriend and two best friends (and it’s really good wine!)
  • I took 4th place in a “Zombie Shoot” target shooting competition
  • I’ve snowmobiled in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Canada

Kristin joined SSI in 2006. Her focus is on new market and product developments to ensure, maintain or improve data quality and participant experience. She began her 11-year tenure at SSI in Project Management before moving to Sales. This allowed her to see different views of the sampling and research process. After completing her Master of Business Administration in 2008, she joined the SSI Knowledge Team. In this role, she leverages her strategic view to conduct research-on-research on new methodology, including consumer privacy, blending, source consistency and partner certifications.

In 2015, Kristin completed a Master’s degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics. Since completing this degree, Kristin has taken a more active role in advising, consulting and training in analysis and statistical processes.