Mixed methodology, otherwise known as multi-mode research is a popular choice when approaching emerging markets. With varying response rates, influenced by geography, language and respondent qualification to name a few, a mixed methodology approach allows researchers to compensate for coverage biases and shortfalls.
Cultural influences play a major role in determining the type of methodology used. In emerging markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia, email invitations to VOC programs yield lower response rates in than other countries. This is caused in part by social and cultural behaviours within these countries. Due to this a mixed use methodology may be warranted.
The quality of data collection is critical, and appropriate quality control measures are implemented. For e.g. in Malaysia, data quality requires 100% monitoring to ensure compliance from both interviewers and respondents. While phone and online methodologies are ideal there are some countries such as Singapore and Myanmar where face-to-face data collection using CAPI could be used as it gives wider access to sample and it’s use is generally accepted amongst the population. For each it’s important to note the costs and time constraints. These are factors that will influence choice of methodology.
We’ve pulled together a few key observations from our work with mixed methodologies in emerging markets. Here are some factors to take into consideration when developing your study:
Questionnaire Length: It’s important to maintain consistency in the length of your survey. We’ve concluded that the optimal length is around 10 minutes. Studies have been conducted up to 30 minutes, however this is not the norm.
Combatting Rural Areas: In more secluded areas, participants tend to be more conservative in their willingness to participate in studies. We have found that the face-to-face intercept methodology is most successful, as opposed to phone and online approaches, although this option is more costly.
Language Versatility: It is important to consider regional dialects and languages when using face to face intercepts. In instances where there are multiple distinct languages across various states, having the awareness and understanding of regional differences will strengthen your response rates.
Research Execution: The more comfortable your respondents feel when engaging in a study, the more successful your responses will be. It’s vital to have local native speakers wherever your study is taking place in order to ensure clear and unbiased communication.
Observance of Cultural Nuances: Ensure that your study takes into consideration the local cultural nuances. Public holidays, political events and even cultural differences in what constitutes a weekend versus a workday are all to be factored into a study to ensure higher response rates.
For example, in the Middle East countries, a weekend is Friday/Saturday, not the typical Saturday/Sunday. In emerging markets, it’s much more common to have a larger number of public holidays. These factors all contribute to the way in which a field plan should be mapped in preparation for a study.
Political situations such as a general election can impact participation due to a large influx of social media use. Consider the type of government in power within your emerging market, as this impacts how trusting the population may be. For example, while attempting to complete a survey during a national election in Malaysia, the corruption of the government and mass amount of propaganda going out for the election meant that we had a much lower response rate during that time.
In order to ensure all possible nuances, cultural practices and language variations we need to be mindful of all options when working in emerging markets. Logit carefully factors in all of the above when recommending the appropriate methodology for each research project. With over 25 years of experience, our international research execution can help to leverage your next international study.
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About Oscar Fernandes
Oscar has over 25 years’ experience in market research especially in the areas of Project Management and Business Development. Before joining the firm in 2014, he held senior positions at Greenwich Associates/Corsential/Consumer Contact.