How to spark joy with your research design and data collection processes

What brings you joy?

When it comes to our personal lives, sparks of joy are easy to identify. It could be a surprise music release from one of your favourite artists (ahem, Eminem just dropped a new album!), a surprise win by your favourite sports team, or getting the scoop on a last-minute availability at your favourite restaurant.

But what about when it comes to your professional life and, more specifically, your day to day job? The joy may not be quite as exciting, but we can still make sure the sparks are there. How do we do that?

Create clear research objectives

Every research project has many important and inter-connected steps… creating the questionnaire, discussion guide, or code plan. Outlining criteria to find research participants. Deciding on the best focus group companies. Understanding the most appropriate field dates. Running the correct data analyses. Creating insightful and engaging reports. Presenting results to the research buyer.

But one important thread weaves through all of these disparate features. The research objective. With a clear objective, many of the subsequent parts fall easily into place. The questionnaire or discussion guides nearly write themselves. The research participant criteria becomes obvious. The data analysis plan becomes clear. The layout and focus of the report becomes clear.

If any one of those things causes trouble, simply go back to the research objective to refocus and gain clarity. Or, perhaps you’ll discover the research objective is not as strong as you’d hoped and requires tweaking. A solid research objective can simplify the entire research process and spark joy as you complete each component.

Go together

As the much-loved proverb goes,

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Though it may not spark joy when a trusted colleague finds small errors in your work, joy is definitely sparked by clients who are rewarded with insightful and actionable work with nary a typo nor illogical statement to be found.

High performing researchers know that their work is elevated by embracing the expertise of other high performers. That includes getting feedback and opinions throughout the research process, even when they know the work they’ve completed is already top notch.

So show your colleagues the incomplete questionnaire, the partial research participant specs, and the incomplete data analysis. Learning new perspectives and getting rid of silly little mistakes is a great way to spark joy.

Build in extra time

The most stressful part of every job is very likely the same thing.


More precisely, not enough time. If we had unending time to create the perfect questionnaire, choose the perfect sample, run the perfect data analysis, and design the perfect report, no one in the research business would ever be stressed. Of course, that’s not reality. Timelines are necessary.

What we can do, however, is put realistic expectations and timelines around our work. Clients obviously want their work done quickly, but good clients realize that quickly isn’t always compatible with quality. If it really will take 40 hours to build a quality questionnaire, then plan for it and pad the time a little bit. You know you’ll run into little glitches so plan for them.

Besides, if you don’t end up using the extra time, your client will feel a huge spark of joy when their work is completed early! And their spark of joy is your spark of joy.

If you’re feeling inspired to spark joy out of more than just your research, Marie Kondo’s breakthrough book “the life-changing magic of tidying up” is available on Amazon. She also has a new book coming out in April called “Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life.” Get your wallet out!

Whether it’s from helping you find participants for research, conduct consumer focus groups, or run employee interview, we’d love to help you spark joy.
Please get in touch with us!

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With nearly 40 years of experience, Canadian Viewpoint is a field and data collection company that specializes in English and French offline and online services. We offer
consumer and medical sample,
programming and hosting,
custom omnibus, mall intercepts, pre-recruits to central location, mystery shopping, site interviews, IHUTs, sensory, product, and package tests, discussion boards, CATI, facial coding, and other innovative technologies. Learn more about our services on our website. Canadian Viewpoint is a founding board member of CRIC (Canadian Research Insights Council) and named on both the 2019 GRIT Top 50 list of Emerging Players and the Women in Research shortlist for Best Places to Work.

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