Harris Interactive, the parent company of the Harris Poll, appears to be doing competitive intelligence on the Do-It-Yourself research tool known as Google Consumer Surveys (#gsurveys); that is not surprising. But Harris appears to have assigned the job to an intern, or to someone who does not speak the English language, or someone who prefers Latin, and the result is this embarrassment:
Question 1 is about as answerable as a question that asks, “Have you heard of the Miller?” And question 2 repeats the idiomatic mistake. Of equal concern, in the following constellation, only those who say they are familiar with The Harris Poll are asked which research company they are most familiar with? Those who have not heard of the Harris Poll are not asked this question.
Further, the list of competing research companies is a tortured list. The Harris Poll has a rich history and was, for much of the 20th Century, the second-most well known polling firm behind Gallup. ORC dates back to 1938, but is largely unknown to Americans. And Kelton and Wakefield are completely unknown to the average American. We believe the results of both of these Hub-Spoke (2-question) constructions should be thrown away.
Sadly, even research companies can write terrible questions. We’ve probably written 50,000 or more research questions over the years, and we cannot recall a single time we were ever tempted, nor ever yielded, to putting the Latin abbreviations into a survey question. (e.g., in the 3 examples below, stands for exempli gratia, as almost no survey respondents would know). Yet here we have Harris writing question after tortured question with Latin references:
Harris Interactive is worth $63 million this morning. Surely, Harris has professional writers on staff who would be mortified to see these questions.
Make sure the professional research company you ask to to help you with your DIY Research project has professional writers and editors on staff. Professional writers will save you money in the long-run. You will not end up with data that needs to be thrown in the trash can.