It is one thing to have an excellent collection data at your disposal, but it means a lot more once you understand how it has been acquired. At NRG Expert, we have a range of different methodologies that allow us to obtain data that is as accurate and reliable as possible. Of course, data collection is never a flawless process but our methodologies work to minimise this to the greatest extent. So let’s take a look at the research methodologies used by NRG Expert.
At NRG Expert we use surveys as one of our key data collection methods. We use open-ended questions to give respondents greater freedom when answering and to stop them from being influenced from pre-existing answers. While these can be harder to compute, we have found they are much better for obtaining accurate data. When conducting surveys, we use sample sizes of over 100 in order to ensure precision.
Our surveys come in all shapes and sizes and we often use phone surveys, face-to-face interviews and mail surveys. When we conduct face-to-face interviews we take great care to ensure there is no interviewer bias. In other words, we construct our questions to be as neutral as possible, so the respondent does not feel swayed or pressured into answering in a certain way.
Our personal interviews are a great way for us to dig deep into the energy industry knowledge and experience of the interviewee. This type of research is particularly valuable because we can ask respondents to elaborate their answers further. Unfortunately, personal interviews can also be highly susceptible to interviewer bias. The interviewer might not even realise they are doing it, but the occasional smile or frown in response to the respondent’s answers can subconsciously influence the respondent to answer in a certain way. NRG Expert is aware of this pitfall and we endeavour to eliminate it entirely from our interview processes.
Online Research Methods
Nowadays, the Internet reigns supreme and when it comes to energy market research there is a lot to be said for the power of online research. Online surveys are incredibly valuable when it comes to acquiring data about the energy industry – particularly because of conditional branching. For example, if a respondent answers yes to a certain question, the next question will be a follow-up to his or her answer. If the respondent answered no, the survey would skip these follow-up questions and go to the next appropriate question.
The difficulty with online surveys is the respondent’s tendency to skim through questions. It is very hard to make people read anything of a significant length, like a scenario or product description. Nevertheless, the interviewer bias is much less and people feel more comfortable conducting interviews online than in person.
Online search data and the monitoring of a website’s traffic are also useful to analyse. We can see what people are searching for within a firm’s website to see which terms are more popular. We can then use this to see how easily accessible the information they are searching for is.
Often we use more than one type of research and when this is the case we will use the most flexible methods first before continuing with a more inflexible method. An example of this would be using personal interviews to gain some preliminary data. Personal interviews are flexible as we can ask follow-up questions and tailor the interview as we see fit. Unfortunately the sample size is usually small so the data is not too reliable. We can then create a questionnaire – much less flexible – based on this data to conduct more research.
Here at NRG Expert we are aware that market research is costly and should only be executed under careful supervision. We are also aware that market research and analysis can be manipulated to fit the need of the customer in some cases. We make sure that all our research is as accurate as possible and without bias and that our projects fully meet the needs of our customers.