What's Keeping Researchers Awake at Night? The Threat of DIY Research

In this month’s issue of Quirk’s are the findings from an annual salary survey. While it’s always interesting to take a look at what people are making, what struck us as most compelling about this piece were some of the open-ended, qualitative responses from respondents. The responses offer insight into what researchers are feeling challenged by and what they see as a threat to their, well, salaries.

One of the common themes among these open-ended responses was DIY research—in particular, how DIY research is threatening their jobs more than it probably should. In a sidebar to the salary survey, Quirk’s editor Joseph Rydholm does the dirty work for us, digging into some of these insights about DIY research and finding some real gems of responses. Among them:

“Just because data collection tools have become so readily available doesn’t mean using them assures good research. In my mind, it’s like saying that we are all qualified CPAs because we know how to use Excel!”

Or how about this one?

“We need to address the onslaught of ‘cheap and fast’ research that is often convenient but leads to completely incorrect assumptions. We must demonstrate the return on investment of thoughtful and considered research.”

So what does this say about DIY research? Two things: It’s definitely becoming a popular way to go. Client-side researchers often contact to 20/20 Research to develop and execute their own research projects using our suite of easy-to-use online qualitative research software platforms. But at the same time, there’s a real warning that clients eager to do their own research should heed: Be careful! Unless you know what you’re doing, your results (and your job) could be in jeopardy.

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