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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Cochrane

No Surprise Here!

Errors exist in market research. Nothing earth shattering here. More often than not, errors are a result of unconscious biases, lost in the analysis of data and observations. They can lead to invalid and unreliable findings and ultimately less than optimal decision making. Here’s a few errors to consider when performing , analysing or taking in market research.

-Fundamental Attribution Errors: This occurs when individuals attribute the behaviour of others to internal factors such as personality traits while overlooking external factors such as situational influences. When considering market research, this could lead to misinterpreting behaviours by not considering external factors such as economic conditions or cultural influences.

-Self Serving Bias: This bias involves attributing positive outcomes to internal factors. For example, ones own skills or strategies. It also involves attributing negative outcomes to external factors beyond one’s control. In market research, this bias may affect how companies interpret their success or failures. This potentially can lead to overconfidence or unwarranted pessimism.

-Sampling Bias: This error occurs when the sample chosen for research is not representative of the study’s target audience. While this appears pretty straight forward, good research always starts with finding the right participants. Always make sure your research aligns with your market.

-Preexisting belief or hypothesis bias: Researchers my unintentionally seek, interpret, or remember information that confirms preexisting thoughts. This bias can result in the selection of data that supports a particular viewpoint while disregarding conflicting evidence leading to skewed conclusions.

-Recency Effect: This error involves placing undue emphasis on recent events or information while downplaying historical data. Relying too heavily on recent trends or feedback without considering a broader context can lead to inaccurate predictions or assessments.

Anchoring Bias: Do you ever rely too heavily on the first piece of information encountered (the anchor) when making decisions? This frequently happens in market research. It will lead to skewed perceptions when initial data points strongly influence subsequent analysis or interpretations.

To mitigate biases in market research, it’s important to separate the research and data analysis from those with “skin in the game.” Researchers need to employ rigorous methodologies, including diverse and representative sampling, careful data analysis and an openness to considering alternative explanations.

At Pulse Logic, this is our core. Research and analysis must be void of errors and biases. Our clients hire us to bring the results only impartial third parties can.

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