TSI Blog

Do you know who I am?

August 21st, 2015 by Ralph Sutcliffe | No Responses

There is a long standing belief in market research that face to face interviewing methodologies yield higher satisfaction scores. Not convinced? Have you ever been having a meal in a pub or restaurant with the person sitting opposite you having a good old moan about say, the toughness of their steak? And when the waitress does the polite “Is everything ok with your meals?” thing, they say “Yes, it’s lovely thank you”.

Why is that? Do we not want to be perceived as moaners, are we embarrassed about complaining in public, or making a fuss? But we should give honest and genuine feedback, it allows issues to be recognised, addressed and rectified.

Anonymity and confidentiality is an issue we frequently come across in our employee engagement survey work. Participants are sometimes reluctant to take part for fear they may be recognised and perhaps singled out. It is something we take very seriously and we include an email address and telephone number on … read more »

What’s in a word?

August 20th, 2015 by Ralph Sutcliffe | No Responses

We are often asked to provide surveys in languages other than English for our international clients, for which we turn to our team of experienced mother tongue translators.

Accurate translations are absolutely vital and very easy to get wrong – I once heard a story about the word ‘staff’ being translated as ‘wooden stave’ throughout a staff survey. And one when a translation of ‘submit’ was required for an online survey button – the proposed word apparently would have suited Fifty Shades of Grey better than an employee engagement survey!

An example of getting it wrong comes from a local authority in South Wales where all official signs are required to be bilingual. The Council had received complaints about lorry drivers taking a short cut through a residential area to make deliveries to a supermarket. Wanting to put a stop to this a decision was taken to install a sign saying “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only”. The in-house … read more »

What is the capital of Peru?

August 19th, 2015 by Ralph Sutcliffe | No Responses

This is one of my favourite questions and one that I frequently challenge my audience with when I’m doing a presentation. Not during a survey feedback session obviously, but when I’ve been asked to do a guest speaker spot on questionnaire design and I’m demonstrating how the wording of questions and answers can affect the answers given by participants.

Here’s how it works.

I ask the question “What is the capital of Peru?” and ask the audience to raise their hands if they know. Normally a few hands go about, about 5%, and somebody wittily calls out “P”.

I ask the same question again “What is the capital of Peru?” and this time show them a slide with 4 options…


…and again ask for a show of hands. Rather more go up, about a quarter. Of course if a question is posed in this format in a real survey you’ve got a 1 in 4 chance of guessing correctly.

Finally I ask the question again … read more »

Do you read books on trains?

August 18th, 2015 by Ralph Sutcliffe | No Responses

The ambiguous question is often hard to spot, but a real nuisance if it’s overlooked.

For example, “Do you read books on trains?” can be interpreted in two completely different ways.
Am I asking you if you read books which are about trains?
Or am I asking you if you read books whilst you are on a train?

The problem is, if a question can be read in different ways by your participants, it will be. And you have no idea which way individuals understood the question and therefore the data collected is quite useless.

A client of mine illustrated this point perfectly recently. He was conducting a survey and wanted to be able to re-contact participants for some follow up research. It is good practice to gain their permission first, and is indeed addressed in the Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct:-

31. Members must ensure that follow-up contact with a participant is carried out only if the participant’s permission has been obtained at the … read more »

Tuck Yourself In and Straighten Up Your Tie

August 18th, 2015 by Alison McKinney | No Responses

With the kids going back to school only a matter of weeks away, I’ve been assessing what school uniform still fits and what new items need to be purchased.

This has culminated in some heated discussions with my daughter about why the school insists that a set uniform is worn and got me thinking about why many employers also insist that their employees wear a uniform.

Uniforms and dress codes are standard practice in many workplaces worldwide, but why is there a need to define work clothing?

Sense of unity and equality

Work uniforms promote a sense of team spirit and belonging. When employees wear a uniform, regardless of position or financial status, employees feel a sense of unity and equality. Clothing is a key social class differentiator, which can create tension and jealousy. Removing this element can therefore contribute to healthier relationships amongst staff and a better workplace environment.

Free advertising

A good reason for dressing your employees in a uniform that sports a visible … read more »

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