Road to on-target research begins way before questionnaire development
Statistical expertise alone doesn’t guarantee success for your published editorial research program. In fact, there are many other considerations that must be addressed well before questionnaire development begins. For instance, what incentives must be offered to insure survey response? How can field trips be used to create reader interest in research participation? Can you conduct surveys from your booth at major conventions? Are there industry associations that might partner with you on a joint study? Why is it important to create an editorial advisory board as soon as possible?
These are just some thoughts I shared with attendees during a presentation at the recent Data Journalism Boot Camp sponsored by the New York Chapter of the American Society of Business Publications Editors. While data usage is being newly fussed over now, astute editors have been savvy to the value for years. The big difference today is the availability of technology that facilitates sharper interpretation of available statistics. And of course, there already are some programs that rely on artificial intelligence to get the job done.
On the other hand, I pointed out. editors must do a better job of developing data yardsticks devoted to measuring staff performance. For example, well-constructed travel expense vouchers can be used to chart field editor effectiveness. You can extract useful ratios such as days spent vs. number of editorial pages generated . . . or percent of days devoted to convention coverage vs. trips arranged to allow several meetings with influential readers.
There are important commercial considerations as well. Use of external, authoritative sourced material may be effective. But it’s original, ground-breaking data that separates you from the crowd and affords maximum exploitation opportunities.
Additional guidelines about research practices—including 13 practices to keep in mind pertaining to creating and promoting original research—are included in my new book: Get Serious About Editorial Management.