Food for Thought – Unpacking the world of research

The word MENU. For the majority of consumers it calls to mind the food available in a restaurant before it meant a list of commands displayed on a screen. The culinary world and computer world have converged in the handheld tablets that present the menu in upscale eateries, but otherwise the experience of using these two kinds of menu is different. It gives you food for thought.

In a restaurant of reasonable repute the waiter functions as an adjunct to the menu. Would you like that steak medium rare? Do the requirements of each person vary? The menu is a starting point to be expanded upon and interpreted by a personable gatekeeper. The computer user is alone (initially, despite online connectivity). Confronted with graphical control elements there can be a sense of restriction. The classic case is selecting a radio button – any previously selected radio button in the same group becomes deselected.

At SubstanceQI we appreciate the digital world has a role in efficient, targeted data collection. Like ordering a burger in McDonalds, there is the confidence born of control over what you will get. A simple, uniform, consistent and cheap product. But trying to shoehorn a qualitative research problem that may have an emotional or psychological dimension into a snappy digital solution can restrict the ultimate decision making process: it is akin to ignoring the guidance of the waiter.

We believe in adopting methodologies that maximise engagement and ask the questions you did not realise were important at the outset. The exotic language deployed by some research companies to describe their ‘bespoke modelling’ is comparable to the foodie-speak that peppers fine dining. Menu’s blaze with italicized foreign words, and a surfeit of ostentatious punctuation: Research company websites burst with impactful buzzwords, supported by conceptual conceits pinched from the Social Sciences.

With us, expectations are managed, the cost is justified. We don’t need to prop up what we do because we offer Director Involvement at every stage of the process. We are individuals that give you the opportunity to go off-menu. Gives you food for thought.

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