Street Surveys

Street interviews provided the best methodology for a recent consultation.

One of the key uses of market research data is to validate hypotheses. Typically this is clients who are certain that demand will exist for a new product or service. However, it is often necessary to get data which ‘proves’ a point of view. This may be to finally persuade themselves that their investment is worthwhile, or to attract external funding

A recent project was to research the level of support within a fairly tight geographic area for a proposed Free School. Setting up a Free School is being encouraged by the Government. The application to receive funding from the Government requires evidence of competence to run a school, and importantly support from the immediate local community.

The original brief was to carry out a telephone survey of local residents. However, in discussion with the client we recommended that we use face to face street interviews for the project.

We pointed out to the client that there is now a significant challenge with telephone interviewing where information from a defined geography is required. The increase in use of mobile phones means that it is increasingly difficult to identify phone owners as belonging to a specific town or region. Until comparatively recently landlines were common in households, and the geographic dialing code could be used to narrow down potential participants.

Now, however, land line usage dwindling. There is also an increase in ‘ex-directory’ numbers to avoid cold calls about things like PPI. So, it is almost impossible now to deliver a proper sample for a telephone survey unless there are no geographic constraints.

We were able to design and deliver a completed survey using street interviews which was carried out within the tight timescale laid down by the client. A report and data tables were also provided.

Our street interviewers were able to identify and interview participants to meet the key criteria – age, gender, family size, SEG, and postcode – required to meet the consultation guidelines. These guidelines are a key element of the Free School application.

To help keep the interview at a manageable length the street interviewers handed participants an information leaflet. They could read the leaflet before answering questions based on the information given. This made for a shorter and more focussed interview. It kept the participant engaged throughout and delivered the highest quality data for the client.