FEATURE1 June 2012

Technology trends revealed

Technology is set to shape the future of research now more than ever. Tim Macer and Sheila Wilson reveal the key trends driving the adoption of mobile, social and other New MR methods.

The 230 companies participating in the latest Annual MR Software Survey shows an industry that has broadened its approach to online research to embrace an ever-wider range of methods, but one that is still struggling with some of the complexities this throws up. It finds that innovation in technology is the preserve of a minority, but among the majority it reveals some alarming complacency about the effects new technology is having on cherished research methods and processes which – if not addressed – risks undermining the pillars of impartiality, accuracy and relevance that research is built on.

There is no doubt that today’s technology is creating some challenges for researchers. But we are not convinced that research companies are facing up to them, particularly in the areas we explored in last year’s study – for instance, smartphone use in online surveys, handling large volumes of text that arise from online social media research, and for research clients, getting smarter over the visual presentation of data.

Meaning Ltd. has carried out this survey every year since 2004, interviewing senior technology practitioners and decision-makers in research companies around the world (in four languages and 36 different countries). Fieldwork was carried out during December 2011 and January 2012, using 15-minute online interviews. As in previous years, we are indebted to the study’s sponsor, the MR technology company Confirmit, for allowing us to share the survey’s findings.

Download the full survey here. Tim Macer is managing director and Sheila Wilson is an associate at Meaning Ltd