Wednesday, 24 August 2016
The good and the bad about using mobile surveys
Mobile surveys and research benefits from the fact that the potential participants …
• have bought their own hardware (the mobile)
• spent hours training themselves
• are constantly monitoring/being notified of communications on them from friends, calendars, alarms, Apps, social networks, and mobile web sites to mention a few.
• have them switched on 24 hours a day and are never more than a few feet from them, whether they be in meetings/classes, bed, at the toilet or quite frankly doing any other daily activity.
So what we have is an alert, eager and engaged audience. This is however a double-edged sword as all of these factors make the mobile a very personal device, where an intrusive or unwanted communication will be received with the wrath and action (quite rightly too) not only of the person, but of the authorities (whom they inform) that are either tasked or task themselves with the protection of privacy, confidentiality, permissions and ethical standards for communication generally.
For mobile surveys and research, permissions and clarity have never been more important if we are going to protect this great channel of research opportunity and enable long-term access and insight into people’s daily lives.
Insight like this has never been possible before without the presence of a researcher who can sometimes unwittingly prejudice the outcomes just by their presence. We are truly at the beginning of a new frontier of understanding and insight where we have privileged access to real life events as they happen.
It only seems fair, indeed makes sense, that if we are aiming to engage people on their handsets whilst they are going about their daily activities that we make the mobile surveys simple, quick and convenient, and further, provide the participant with a choice of channels on which they can choose how they would like to take the mobile survey.
Dr Tim Snaith