The Missing Puzzle Piece: Tips to Avoid Research Delays or Project Pitfalls
We’ve all been there: it’s the end of the day, and you see that email notification. You just know it’s going to be yet another issue with a project that has been dragging on. Avoiding these pitfalls at every step of a project can save you, and your client, valuable time.
Define the Target
First, clearly defining the target is integral to project success. Having a sampling plan and finalizing quotas early on are key factors in staying on budget and maintaining the timeline. Improperly defined quotas will likely add time and cost to your budget.
Take Your Time
Don’t fall victim to a rush to program! It may seem unnecessary to spend time up front finalizing a questionnaire when of course there are going to be changes. However, taking the time up front could save you a week on the back end. Consider the formatting and design (skip patterns, etc.). Clarity of logic is imperative. It is important to be sure questions are as unambiguous as possible from the start. The more final a questionnaire can be when sent to programming, the sooner a project can be fielded.
Track Changes Clearly
When there are changes (and there will be), track them so they are clearly indicated and everyone is kept apprised as the project continues. Spoiler alert: if you leave on the auto-numbering feature in Word, the clarity of the logic may be compromised.
This brings us to translations and we can’t say this often enough, “don’t send a script to translations until it is approved!” Consider the intricacies of translations and overlays, perhaps into multiple languages. Changes at this juncture that involve back and forth between linguists, can take days and will most likely delay your timeline. When an approved script is sent to translation, small changes will be able to be handled effectively, minimizing the chance for error, avoiding delay and keeping costs on track.
As you can see, there are key elements to time management at every stage of a project. Have a research objective from the very beginning that is clear and understood. Stick to the plan. Programming, translations, field and later data processing (don’t forget to think about data delivery) will allow you to deliver to your client on their research objectives.
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