The first rule for tracking studies is to avoid any changes to the survey methodology. Of course, this principle is only true, if the quality of your research is already satisfactory, as you probably wouldn’t want to preserve a poor quality.
Therefore, the second rule is that you should never sacrifice quality for comparability. This can require smaller tweaks to the questionnaire design, but sometimes you would even change the method as a whole.
From our experience, there are three major reasons, why researchers are considering a change of method for their running tracking study.
- Value for Money: During the last years, we have seen massive improvements in the quality of online samples, while online research still remains considerably cheaper than other methods. There may be exceptions, but for many trackers a change to online research will increase the value for money.
- New Technology: The availability of new technology in online research allows us to further improve the quality of our surveys. While the traditional methods can be limiting with regard to multi-media content and interactive question types, online research has almost no limits.
- Better Reach: Finally, it also has become easier to reach specific target groups on the internet, e.g. a younger target group with mobile phones only. This is not only relevant with regards to the costs of fieldwork, but also a matter of representativeness and sample quality.
If you would like to change the method, it can be challenging to preserve the comparability of your data – but it is possible, if you follow some simple rules. In fact, we have helped several clients to change the method of their tracking studies and maintain the comparability of the collected data.
If you want to learn more about it, visit our website.2