FEATURE14 April 2022

Breaking down the barriers

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Understanding cultural nuances and couching survey questions in a clear, jargon-free manner are essential to the success of global research campaigns. Rob Gray helps navigate the minefield that is international communication in market research.


Mind your language! This is not a warning about rudeness, although rudeness might be an unintended consequence; rather, it’s a pointer to the problems that arise from using sloppy, hard-to-understand or unengaging language when conducting research. Language that fails to resonate with panellists, or is wide of the mark in terms of research objectives, may equate to opportunities missed, spiralling costs and data of dubious quality. It may prove an insurmountable barrier to accessibility.

There are two major aspects to language-related problems that risk undermining research: clarity of communication and cultural adaptation. In the case of the latter, this is most obviously an issue for international/global research, although it is equally applicable when conducting research among minority groups in the UK who do not speak English as a first language. More on that later, but first let’s address the huge area that is international research.

International projects with data collection in one or more overseas country, but controlled and invoiced ...