Our Approach to Custom Research

As journalists, we are deluged with research reports and surveys. The most striking thing about most of them is that they rarely attempt to answer the key question we almost always have: Why? Research might tell us that 69 percent of this group did XYZ, but if it doesn't ask why they did that, there's no way for people to know what to do with that data.

There's a reason research almost never asks why, and that's because a Web survey—or phone surveys done with temps reading from a script—doesn't lend itself to follow-up questions. No mechanism clarifies how the surveyed interpreted a question. When asked to choose from a list of options, was the last item on the list low-ranked because few people wanted it or because few stuck around long enough to even consider option 8?

The Content Firm's approach to research is to have subject-matter experts talk with the surveyed and delve into why they answered as they did and then report back to the client. Those conversations deliver the answers to "Why?"—and, much more critically, the answer to "What should we do about this?"