We told you earlier in the week that Google is unofficially testing a new “open-end” type of question, which permits a respondent to type words into a blank box. We told you we did not like the first application we saw of this, which asked respondents to type in the name of a website. Bad use of the question type, bad use of the technology. Bad concept, bad execution.
But here … but today … but now … how quickly things change. The following is a great use of Google Consumer Surveys: “Describe Mitt Romney in one word”:
The exact right type of question for an open-end. You do not want to give respondents a list of words to pick from, for you pollute the respondents if you do. You do not necessarily want respondents to write an essay that you have to read manually, so you carefully instruct them to type a single word. If respondents follow the instructions, you should get back a list of words (many of them spelled correctly) that can be auto-parsed by the Google mainframe, reducing the amount of human labor required on the back-end (during post production). We could imagine Google giving the DIY researcher a ranked list, graphed, that reveals that the word (making up the words now):
- Able was mentioned 91 times.
- Baker was mentioned 87 times.
- Charlie was mentioned 82 times
- Delta was mentioned 73 times.
- Foxtrot was mentioned 66 times.
- Hotel was mentioned 49 times.
- And so on (all beautifully auto-graphed by Google).
Note, we are not making any political statement here. The question would have been just as good had it said, “Describe Barack Obama in one word” (which question we assume we would have come across had we clicked longer).
For now, let’s call this new approach to gathering data using Google Consumer Surveys a breakthrough, let’s credit the folks to conceptualized it and implemented it. Bravo.