We at Research For Good have been running international and multi-country projects since our early days. With those years of experience comes an understanding of which key pieces of information ensure a successful outcome for your multi-country market research study. We’ve recently announced enhanced sample reach in the UK, Australia and France, with more countries coming down the pipe soon. In light of this renewed focus on sample excellence outside of North America we’ve developed a list of key questions your sample supplier should be asking before launching your international market research survey. Refer back to this list each time you’re launching a survey (whether it’s with us, or another supplier) and you’ll be on the path to country-specific sampling excellence!
As compiled by our resident project management expert Deya Nacheva, Senior Director of Client Happiness, here are the 6 questions your sample supplier should ask before an international survey launch:
- What are your hours of coverage? While it’s important for you (the sample buyer) to understand what hours your suppliers are available and how they line up with the time zones of the markets you’re sampling, it is also very important for your supplier to know when YOU are available. Are you based in New York and running a survey with Japanese respondents? What is your overlap with that time zone? Are you or someone on your team available Sunday evening in New York to respond if questions arise based on the respondents coming in on Monday morning Japan time?
- If a member of your (the buyer’s) team is not available, it’s important to set clear expectations for fielding, and have a back-up emergency contact just in case something is really impacting the fielding and cannot wait (like a broken link or survey error). In addition, it’s a good idea to think through how you want your supplier to handle trouble-shooting in the event that you are not immediately available. What is your supplier’s policy on pausing an in-field study if something appears broken or a high proportion of respondents are dropping out? Do you have a test-survey available to the supplier so they can test as the study is in field without impacting your data collection? Giving your supplier this kind of access can help them to resolve (or at least pinpoint) issues on the fly, and help ensure the overall health of the project. Set your supplier up to help you – this is a partnership and your supplier should be happy to help you in this way.
- Can your share the questionnaire? A questionnaire is always helpful for testing purposes on any study, but it also allows our team to confirm that the subject and line of questioning are appropriate for each of the targeted countries. Our team sees many surveys for different countries each day, and has a wealth of experience in understanding cultural, economic and even legal differences which may need to be considered when it comes to sample plans for each country.
- How do the targeting requirements differ by country? It’s important for your sample supplier to be fully aware not only of the overall targeting for the survey, but any and all targeting and quota differences by country. The quota-breaks for Brazil will be different from Australia, and even different than more closely located countries like Mexico. It’s important to lay this out with as much detail as possible
- Has the survey been translated? Can you share those translations with us? Obviously it is important for us to ensure that the survey is translated so that we can respect the respondent. In addition, sharing the translations can also help us to pre-screen appropriately on our end (if this is something that has been agreed to as part of the sample plan).
- Have you translated for all applicable languages in a particular country or only the most dominant? For some countries more than one language is common, and depending on the audience, not having translations available for different dialects (I’m looking at you China) can impact both the feasibility and representativeness of the sample.
- Are there any country specific holidays, events or issues that may impact the fielding? This one can go both ways as your supplier should also be able to warn you if they know of any holidays which may overlap with your fielding, but it’s a good idea for you both to spend at least a few minutes checking the latest news coming out of the area you’re researching to ensure there are no major developments which could keep people from participating during your planned fielding window. Look for:
- Political events/upheavals
- Natural disasters
- Major social-discourse that could have an impact on the mindset of your respondents – even if that is not specifically the topic of your research.
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