This is probably the most important page of my website. You know, explaining what I do.
The problem is, I’m terrible at it (not the work, I think I’m good at that).
What do I actually do?
If you pinned me down and asked me what I do, first of all I’d find that a bit weird.
Once I’d composed myself, I’d say I’m a freelance research and evaluation consultant who specialises in quantitative methods. Have I lost you? Do you need more?
You might be thinking ‘I can do my own online surveys, thank you very much’. And you can. If you’ve got the skills or just can’t find a budget, that’s probably your best bet.
I’m not a designer but I could create graphics and posters. It doesn’t mean they’d be any good. Sometimes it pays to bring in someone who knows what they’re doing.
I’m a pro at designing surveys. If you don’t find the right questions and ask them in the right way, you’re not going to get the insight you need at the end. How annoying would that be?
I’ve invested in specialist software so I can do really clever stuff with my surveys. I’m also not limited to online. I’m all for an online survey. They’re quick and pretty cheap. But sometimes an online approach just won’t cut it.
Stick with me and we’ll find the right way to do it. This might be some street surveys or telephone interviews. You won’t believe me, but postal surveys still work too.
I’m a quant man. This means I like being a geek with loads of numbers and doing research that’s statistically robust and representative.
It’s not just the survey, it’s about how you design the finer details of a research project.
Getting your sample right. Defining your population. Reducing non-response bias. Understanding the difference between probability and non-probability methods. That kind of thing.
You don’t need to worry about these though, leave that to me.
What do I research?
Anything! Sort of. The point is, research can be used for loads of different things. This should give you an idea but I’d be here all day if I rattled off the full list.
- Audience or customer research – what do your audience or customers look like and what do they think?
- Non-user research – who isn’t using your services who should, why aren’t they and what would it take to bring them in?
- Employee research – are they really happy, what’s important to them and how can you support them?
- Membership research – what do your members think of you and what are the key industry insights across your membership?
- Website/UX feedback – presented to visitors on your website to build customer profiles and understand experiences
I help evaluate the impact of projects, events, services and programmes. Usually these are funded by national bodies who expect to see an independent evaluation commissioned.
Once you’ve got your evaluation framework in place (I can help with that), you’ll have a good idea of the data that needs to be collected and the methods you need to use.
There’s a stack of options and choices when it comes to evaluation methods, from randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental to non-experimental and non-measurement approaches. Not heard of some of these? I promise I haven’t made them up.
The trick is picking the right options. Let me help.
I love this bit.
Powerful analysis software is another area I’ve invested in. But it’s worth it. I can make light work of big datasets and find key insights.
Analysis has a big role to play in any research or evaluation project I deliver. Depending on the data collected, I’ll clean it up, weight it so it’s representative, code open-ended responses to quantify key themes, group variables to make the analysis more meaningful to you and run comprehensive cross-tabs (big data tables cut different ways).
I don’t stop there. My reports are pretty good. I’ll identify key insights from the data and explain them to you. I’ve had training from one of the UK’s leading data visualisation experts, so I won’t just churn out crappy pie charts and data tables for you. I’ll use the right charts and visualisations to bring out patterns in the data and make your findings stand out.
If you’re already sitting on a massive set of data that you have no idea what to do with, let me take a look. I’ll clean it up, analyse it and see what it’s saying.
If there’s a particular type of analysis technique you’re interested in, just ask.
Think you need some help but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. I work with clients on a consultancy basis to help them understand their research priorities, identify any insight gaps and develop action plans and recommendations to give them direction and focus.
Maybe you don’t want to blow your budget on getting someone else to do the research. You might want to develop your in-house capabilities.
I can help with that too. I’m available for tailored training or 1:1 sessions to share what I know.
Later this year I’ll be offering training workshops for people looking to get to grips with the basics of research and evaluation. If you want to be kept updated, sign up to my monthly email.
What you get from me