During the final presentation, the client who is also a good friend asked me, naively, “Is selecting a research method really important?
“Is selecting a research method really important?”
Listening to this, I was wordless, surprised, astonished.
“Certainly, it matters”, I managed to speak.
“How does it matter? If you are talking to users, you are talking to the users- why focus on the ‘how’? Shouldn’t we care about what we hear from them?” he asked curiously.
While I was thinking about how to respond, I realised where he was coming from. Earlier, I had intentionally focused his attention on what we heard in the research project, and he had enough confidence in my abilities that he didn’t pay too much attention to ‘how’ we are doing that research project. I intentionally shifted his focus away from the ‘how’- a move to make the most use of his time and energy.
So then, why was I surprised at his question? I was asking for trust, so why was I surprised that he was trusting my work. While a client shouldn’t ignore the significance of method and approach, the real value of research is realised when you trust your research partner have the knowledge and expertise to design the right method. Clients should spend their time in thinking, strategising and trusting their research partners to handle everything else.
That’s why, we at Ethnity, spend as much as time and energy working to understand which research method is fit for each client and their objectives as we do for discovering insights. The goal is to build enough trust with the client that they don’t think about it (because they know we will work on that for them).
We are lucky at Ethnity to have the best-in-class tools to work with. As a result, our clients have the luxury to ignore that they have to choose a method. We answer tough questions. We share stories. We help companies understand their users. And yes, the method matters, but because our clients trust our knowledge and are free to focus on what they hear, they remember the stories. The insights create impact beyond the projects. The right questions asked through the right method always lead to the right story.