How To Address Sensitive Issues In Market Research?

Within the work of market analysts there are almost no limits in terms of topics that can be discussed. However, there are some topics that are difficult to access. This is due to the fact that people do not usually verbalize these issues or due to the circumstances of a given time and place in which there is not enough freedom to express themselves on the matter. Some examples of areas of knowledge that people are often silent or respond superficially are politics, income, and security.

Investigating aspects of sensitive treatment is not impossible, but it requires a great deal of sensitivity and experience on the part of investigators and data and information collectors. Below we list some tips to be able to study aspects of conditional access of opinion and consumer experimentation.

  1. Omit personal data. When it is necessary to delve into some of the topics mentioned above, it is essential to guarantee the anonymity of the interviews. When respondents perceive that it will be possible to relate their answers to their identity, they will object to being interviewed or may make up the answers to feel more secure. In these cases it is prudent to dispense with the identification data. These may only be requested when strictly necessary for supervision or classification purposes.
  2. Avoid asking for precise data. People tend to mistrust when they are asked for very detailed information such as the amount of income, whether gross or net, address or number of household members. These data are usually provided to pollsters from Statistics and Geography organizations. However, even the latter encounter more and more obstacles in obtaining these answers. Best practices suggest handling response ranges whenever the methodology and purpose of the study allow it.
  3. Ask strictly what is necessary. Although we are tempted to apply long and very in-depth questionnaires, when dealing with topics that are likely to arouse fear among the respondents, we should opt for brief and very concise information gathering instruments. If we apply very long and tedious interviews, we run the risk of losing an opportunity to obtain reliable data.
  4. Be very careful what words we use. If it is already necessary to use the vocabulary correctly in the design of traditional interviews, this step becomes more important in the study of difficult topics. Many times when applying this type of instrument, people become very emotional. If we are not careful we can make the people who collaborate with us relive painful episodes or arouse passions. In this case the answers we get will be too subjective to be useful for the purposes of our projects.
  5. Employ empathetic and experienced staff. Even if we comply with the steps mentioned above, it would be of little use if the interviewers do not have the appropriate profile. If it is about extremely sensitive issues, it will be prudent to have personnel with containment skills if required. In other situations, cordial, attentive interviewers with the ability to understand non-verbal language will suffice to make the adjustments that apply in order to cover all the objectives of the research.

Delving into difficult issues puts the teams dedicated to it to the test. On many occasions these data are required by public or private legal entities to improve people’s quality of life. Market research in these cases is a very valuable ally to implement positive transformations for all. If you are interested in developing research projects like the ones outlined in this post, you can write to us today. Acertiva puts in your hands its more than 18 years of experience in Latin America.