Is it Productive (and Wise) to Interview During the Final Week of the Year?
January 31, 2011
We've heard researchers profess it to be unproductive to interview during the week between Christmas and New Years' Day while others pay no attention to such "mundane" matters. So, to help answer the question, RTi conducted a small, high incidence (household purchase decision makers), short online 15 minute survey from Monday, 12/27/10 through Sunday, 1/2/11. We treated this project as others to achieve a dispersion of interviews across weekdays/weekend and also to achieve the desired Census breaks for region, age, and gender.
What happened? Well, all 300 interviews were completed in the scheduled week without any problem. But, the response rate was significantly lower than for a similar incidence and survey length during non-holiday time (1.4% vs. ~5%).
Implications? We'd suggest holding off on any low incidence studies or limited sample where response rate is especially important. This would definitely include research conducted with customer lists.
Finally, experience (and common sense) directs us to consider:
• Is the subject matter seasonally time sensitive?
• Is there potential for the holiday period to present "atypical" product usage or opinions?
• Is this is a tracker or will the results be compared to other studies from other time periods? If so, then the question of respondent comparability needs to be discussed.
Whether it's the last week of the year, or surveys near major holidays, you can depend on RTi to raise the right questions on the appropriateness or potential implications for interviewing vs. holding off to post-holiday.