Research Pet Peeves: Lackluster Reports

Welcome to 2018 – over 75% of Americans own smart phones, cars will soon drive themselves, and Alexa is telling you the weather while commanding your robotic vacuum to clean the floors. With so much cutting edge technology, market research should be a breeze, right? As players in this industry we know this unfortunately isn’t the case. Technology can’t yet fully solve for the things humans contribute (or don’t contribute) to market research – objectives get murky, projects get derailed and before you know it, expectations are not aligned.

What is standing in your way?

We wanted to know what was standing in the way of successful and impactful insights for other researchers, so naturally we turned to research, surveying clients and industry experts.

Lackluster reports

After analyzing the findings, we heard some consistent, common pet peeves trending in the market research industry. At the top of many pet peeves lists – lackluster reports. From reports with hundreds of pages cluttered with excessive amounts of irrelevant data to reports that lack context, and fail to include data points. We believe business growth comes from confident insights, so if reports don’t deliver these results, research can’t have an impactful outcome.

What defines a good report?

Bad reports cause negative ramifications for the entire research project, so how do you avoid creating one? Here are some tips to deliver exceptional reports that clearly convey actionable insights and their implications to foster business growth.

  • Be concise. Directly state findings and avoid wordiness and exaggeration. Summarize what respondents said that is significant to the original research questions and objectives. Unrelated details such as responses from warm-up questions or irrelevant tangents should be omitted.
  • Focus on a point of view. Insights should be an interpretation and analysis of the findings and have a clear voice in the report. Connect each result back to the objectives and answer the research questions. The story inside the report should have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • Make thoughtful recommendations. Implications should clearly state what to do with the insights in a way that is relevant and sensitive to the client’s business questions. Illuminate opportunities, considerations, and next steps.
  • Jazz it up. Finding that hidden insight that opens a door of opportunity is exciting- so show it. A little spark emphasizes the main points and reiterates how research can provide solutions to business goals but also makes for an enjoyable read.


We’ve come too far to let lackluster reports exist a second longer. If you need to rant or want to talk further about elements of an effective report, drop us a line. We are here to help.

Be on the lookout in the coming weeks as we share our take on more of the industry’s top research pet peeves!