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Big headlines were made earlier this summer when a report came out claiming that half of Americans admit to using the swimming pool to clean off instead of taking a shower. The results, while shocking, were misleading and raised questions among consumers. People took to Twitter to question the validity of the research and sure enough, initial reports from news outlets failed to disclose that the survey was conducted on by a PR firm working for a company in the Chlorine industry.
CBS, which originally published the story, posted a correction, saying that the survey did not meet their editorial standards. While third-party research can bring credibility to a story, it must also fit the editorial requirements and standards of journalists, which means that it must not be biased.
It is easy to see the bias in a group of advisors to the chlorine industry conducting a survey that yields eye-catching results about swimming pool usage. Below are a few important considerations for developing a credible, third-party research.
By journalistic standards, the bigger the sample size, the higher accuracy of the data. Generally, journalists look for research with samples sizes no less than 500 responses. However, that is a minimum, and surveys will larger sample sizes between 1,000-5,000 tend to do better in terms of media coverage.
To determine the credibility of data, journalists pay attention to all aspects of the research methodology, including how the data was collected, how the research was funded, and who conducted the study. The more detailed that research is when it comes to providing these details; the more likely journalists are to report on the findings.
Does the research measure what it is intended to measure? Sometimes when developing surveys, questions can be asked or framed in ways that can generate misleading headlines – which in some cases, is the intention. However, reporters value transparency above all else, and request to view raw data of your survey results in order to write their stories. Therefore, it is important to provide all research assets when sharing your data.
ARTEMIA has executed many successful research campaigns with our clients, contact us to learn more here! For more information on advertising and marketing services, call us at 415-351-2227.
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