Five Surprising Things about the 2017 GRIT Report

By Jackie Lorch, Vice President, Global Knowledge Management

Reporting on data from 2,637 interviews by researchers across the globe, the 21st Greenbook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) report was published today.

In the 80+ page report there’s a lot of food for thought about the state of research and where it may go next. Here are five findings from within this year’s report that were a bit of a surprise:

  1. There is support across the industry for protecting participants – and some are willing to pay more or agree to other specific action steps to protect participants. The support in this area from both buyers and users of research is probably stronger than many sample providers realize: – Over a quarter of respondents from full service providers think there should be a higher charge for fielding non-mobile-friendly surveys. – About half of participants across the board – buyers, full-service and sample providers – think sample providers should refuse to field surveys which are not mobile-friendly. Given that up to half of all surveys still fall into this category, that would be a dramatic change.
  2. Sample providers can safely give advice on questionnaire design. Nearly two-thirds of buyers and over half of full-service companies think sample suppliers should consult with them on questionnaire design. Therefore, sample suppliers can be less reticent in giving advice on questionnaire design and stop thinking “it’s not my place.”
  3. With all the current talk within our industry about automation, there’s still a long way to go to make it a way of life. The percentage who said they were using — or even considering using — automation for data analysis, charting or text analysis are in the 50’s for both those at supplier and those at buyer companies. Only 34 percent of buyers and 45 percent of suppliers are using or even considering using sample automation. Questionnaire design is another area ripe for automation. Our industry tends to move slowly and perhaps the drive to automation will not be as swift across the entire industry as all the current talk might lead us to think.
  4. SSI rose in the ranks of innovative companies to secure the #11 spot! That could be surprising to some: When a company’s been around for 40 years, maybe it gets a reputation for good things like quality and service, but isn’t immediately thought of as cutting edge.  The picture looks different from inside SSI, where given all the investment in talent and technology they’ve seen, many SSI’ers were surprised SSI didn’t rank higher.  
  5. Sample providers and buyers have very different perspectives on sample quality. 55 percent of sample providers think quality’s getting better, with only about 20 percent of insight buyers or clients agreeing. The numbers are roughly reversed when asked whether quality’s getting worse. Apparently, providers need to talk to users and buyers in a more relevant way about the elements of quality, advances that have been made in recent years and why they’re optimistic about quality improvements.  Providers also need to listen to buyers and users talk about what it is that causes them concern when it comes to sample quality.