8 Must-Haves for High-Quality Original Research

Content advertising and marketing can get consideration for your organization. Publishing unique analysis can earn one thing rather more elusive: authority.

Producing unique analysis signifies your model has insights about your trade that nobody else owns. Given how exhausting it’s to say one thing really new and compelling with content material advertising and marketing, it’s a small marvel extra individuals don’t use unique analysis.

But not all analysis tasks are created equal, and over time, I’ve discovered to identify analysis inexperience. These eight indicators inform me whether or not a research was effectively designed or produced.

1. Tell tales; don’t take stock

In my 15-plus years of writing and publishing analysis, that is the No. 1 factor individuals get incorrect: When endeavor a analysis venture, they heed the siren’s name – “Let’s find out all the things!”

After all, when spending all this money and time on a survey, why not ask … every little thing? The drawback is (a) members received’t full all the survey and (b) studying by way of all these issues is downright boring.

Get centered. For instance, a broad research about synthetic intelligence wouldn’t work effectively, however analysis on the challenges of adopting AI tech in well being care would. Narrow the realm of research so you may extract significant, never-before insights.

No. 1 mistake with original #research? Using it to find out everything. Better option? Pick a narrow focus, says @clare_mcd via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Want Better Results From Your Original Research? Improve the Survey Experience

2. Clearly state methodology

A reliable research – whether or not survey-based or in any other case – publishes a transparent methodology. It contains the pattern dimension, how respondents had been recruited, and demographic summaries related to the research (e.g., gender, years of expertise, function, geography). These particulars assist your reader gut-check whether or not your findings are worthwhile.

3. Sample competently or be clear about potential bias

How did you supply respondents for your survey? Did you utilize a panel and attempt to get an correct sampling primarily based on the underlying inhabitants? While splendid, this strategy isn’t all the time cost-effective. For area of interest teams, panels can value effectively over $50 per full survey, a value many firms merely can’t pay.

Sampling your individual viewers is free and efficient, however you have to be clear in regards to the biases which will floor primarily based on that viewers. For instance, for those who’re figuring out how Website positioning-savvy new enterprise house owners are, polling members of an Website positioning tech platform means the outcomes embody opinions from people who find themselves extra superior within the topic.

4. Ask questions that don’t push a viewpoint

You assume you’re being sneaky, however I see you. Don’t design inquiries to push your services or products.

The humorous factor: If you ask a patently self-promotional query, your survey takers will kick your butt. I used to be as soon as concerned in a research the place the shopper requested a barely disguised query about individuals’s desire for their product or their rivals’. The sensible survey takers smelled a rat and selected the extra “primitive” product from the lineup. It was a little bit of a “&%$# you and the horse you rode in on.” It made me giggle.

Don’t design questions to push your product. Survey takers will smell a rat, says @clare_mcd via @CMIContent. #OriginalResearch Click To Tweet

5. Work with a report author who speaks knowledge

Not all good writers have the abilities to report your analysis findings. You need a writer-analyst, not only a author. You need somebody who received’t regurgitate the essential info of the survey however put these findings in context and clarify why they’re fascinating. Experienced journalists are wonderful analysts, and I search them out for powerful research-reporting assignments.

6. Tie to related, well timed, and correctly cited third-party analysis

Excellent analysis reviews tie in different analysis knowledge to make their instances. For instance, for those who do a analysis research about telemedicine in well being care, your viewers will respect the findings much more for those who point out different respectable analysis organizations uncovering comparable points. But for the love of all issues nerdy, please don’t quote a third-party research if it’s greater than two years previous. And fairly frankly, in pandemic instances, I’m loath to cite research greater than three months previous. Be sensible about what knowledge are really related.

For the love of all things nerdy, please don’t quote a third-party study if it’s more than two years old, says @clare_mcd via @CMIContent. #OriginalResearch Click To Tweet

7. Charts and graphs ought to have the ability to stand alone

This is a private pet peeve, however it bears making this record. If you publish a weblog put up or any kind of report with unique charts and graphs, every one ought to have the ability to stand alone. In different phrases, if somebody revealed simply your chart picture, it ought to comprise all the knowledge a viewer must make sense of that perception – the important thing discovering, the query requested, the pattern dimension, and the supply.

Every research results graphic should be able to stand on its own, says @clare_mcd via @CMIContent. #OriginalResearch. Click To Tweet

Find out extra about designing templates for charts and graphs on this article I wrote for the Content Marketing Institute.

8. Design visuals for readability, not sparkle

We all get taken in by cool visualizations. Who of us hasn’t swooned over Edward Tufte’s books? (OK, perhaps not, however I do know I’m not the one one.) But let’s get actual; few (I daresay none) of us have to channel Beautiful Evidence to publish thought management analysis. Your mantra needs to be KISS (preserve it easy, silly).

Always design for readability, and don’t be afraid of the nice ol’ bar or line chart for those who’re inexperienced. My favourite e book for chart and graph design is The Wall Street Journal’s Guide to Information Graphics. There is time, younger grasshopper, to graduate to spider charts and warmth maps.

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Respect the indicators

Writing all that’s notably painful as a result of I sound like a analysis scold, however these good early indicators point out if a analysis venture is run competently. I share these with an amazing quantity of humility, having made lots of errors in my years of designing analysis.

What would you add to the record of excellent analysis hallmarks?


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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute