Published on January 17, 2011

Revolutionising Research

While planning an upcoming research project, we happened upon a recent thought-piece by market research specialists Ipsos Mori exploring the impact of technological development on research design.

The prevalence of mobile devices now and in the future, it suggests, could dramatically alter the way that researchers and marketing professionals interact with subjects and consumers. The likelihood that subjects will carry with them at least one smartphone, tablet or other mobile broadband device means that, as the Ipsos Mori team observe, “researchers can communicate with them at any time, ask questions, receive images, videos and location information to collect ‘in context’ feedback at the exact point of experience.”

They envisage that “the following five technological developments will revolutionise mobile and media research over the next five years”:

1.  Mobile device ubiquity – devices will become even ‘smarter’ and more cost effective.

Many new entrants to the market will drive down cost.

2.  Pervasive connectivity – WiFi will improve, plus unlimited data packages, eliminated roaming charges and the option of reversed billing will all but wipe out the data capture cost to complete the research.

3.  Social networking / Real-time web – the ability to collaborate and co-create via mobile phones will become the increasingly popular way to conduct mobile research.

4.  Development of mobile senses – the mobile phone will develop new and more accurate sensors including GPS, movement, biometric, biomedical, environmental, emotional and social interpretation, which may provide compelling qualitative measures to enhance traditional audience measurement.

5.  Augmented Reality and Automatic Media Capture – voice and image recognition, barcode scanning (of interest to the print medium), synthesis of location-aware devices and co-ordinates-based  databases all combine to make it ultra fast to capture media exposure and share ideas.*   

The implications for market researchers are clear: researchers, should they structure their research in such a way as to take advantage of this new technology, will be able to obtain more accurate, more detailed and more up-to-the-minute information about groups and individuals than ever before. Every data collection method may be adapted for mobile digital media use- research designed specifically for mobile devices therefore offers an enormous opportunity to update tried and tested qualitative and quantitative methodologies from surveys and questionnaires to focus groups and first-person accounts for the “iPhone generation.”

We at Stockdale Martin look forward to updating our own research methods for this new technology when undertaking research projects in the future, and would encourage other market researchers to do the same.

*The report is available for download at

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