Micro-Interview: Melanie Courtright, winner of ESOMAR Excellence Award for the Best Paper

<This is a re-post from my article on Linkedin: ESOMAR_Excellence_Award_Melanie_Courtright>

Winning Paper: Multimode, Global Scale Usage | Understanding respondent scale usage across borders and devices

The team: Kartik Pashupati, Melanie Courtright, Roddy Knowles, Annie Pettit, ResearchNow

The jury said: “Good seminal piece, meticulous approach and statistical design and powerful in the diversity of factors evaluated.”


1. Melanie, congratulations on the Best paper award. How did it come about?

Melanie: Thank you! Our team consults on large global projects and had been discussing the standard process of running cross-tabs by country for international work. We hypothesized that this was potentially a problematic process because differences are highlighted based on the raw data, when there may be cultural differences in how people use the scales. We had a very bright team sit down and discuss how to test our theories. As we begin building a design, we wanted to test a few other hypotheses about scale usage across devices as well, and it all came together very quickly!

2. Melanie, you talk about bridging Academic and practical research? How can we, as a profession, go about it?

Melanie: There needs to be a better partnership between the academic and commercial sides of our industry. Round tables discussing trends, and collaborative approaches to helping enable progress rather than impede it. The commercial side needs to share more with universities and students about what clients are asking for, and academics need to help apply rigor and science to those new methods. And we all need to work faster. We can’t be afraid to change and evolve. If we don’t we will become extinct.

3. What next, from a paper/thought/new-initiatives perspective?

A few things are in the works. First, we want to build on the scales work and test a few more types of scales. Eventually building a correction model. We also want to help the industry better understand what “online rep” and “census sampling” means in the web-based world. And we are really passionate about proving that changing your survey design to better reach mobile respondents can be done wisely, and that while the data may not stay consistent, it will be more useful for decision making.

Finally, we are testing some hybrid methods with clients that will show how universe expansion (reaching people on whatever device we can) results in inclusivity and data quality that by far offsets concerns people have with mixed mode biases. And that’s just for starters! We have some very cool things to say about blending questioning data with passive data and client data to tell stories no one has seen before. It’s all very exciting!

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More about Melanie: http://tiny.cc/MelanieCourtright

More about me: www.pravinshekar.com

(Melanie is a candidate for the Council of ESOMAR and yours truly is running for the post of the President!).

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