We’re continuing with the topic of panel research, and currently on the subject of potential weaknesses. We’ve already discussed some of the more common weaknesses, including the effects of a small sample, potential issues with members of your sample, dropout, and more. Below are a few additional weaknesses and from there we’ll close out with some concluding thoughts. Other weaknesses include:
- Panel Maintenance
Maintaining a panel can be difficult. You need to make sure that your panel remembers and understands that more surveys are coming. You may need to remind them through phone calls, emails, etc., and make sure they’re continuing to answer online surveys or respond as needed. Survey members may drop out, or they may pass away, or they may simply forget – all of these are aspects of maintenance that play a role in the efficacy of this type of research.
- Startup Costs
Finally, the cost to start up this type of research can also be somewhat prohibitive. You need to make sure that you go through an entire panel selection process, prepare all of your research beforehand (since your initial research sets the tone for the rest of your research), plan out how you’re going to incentivize or maintain the panel, and so on. All in all in can get fairly expensive.
Overall Thoughts on Panel Research
It’s clear that panel research has a lot of potential weaknesses, but potential is not the same thing as guaranteed. Panel research has been conducted for years, providing interesting data to companies that perform panel research correctly and understand how to build and maintain the panel successfully.
It’s especially common when introducing changes to your business, or simply tracking buying habits of a specific industry and seeing if the trend is to move toward or away from your product. Companies often depend on this type of research when managing smaller trends and understanding a specific audience is an important part of their data collection needs. Panel research isn’t necessarily about understanding the larger population either. Rather, it’s about seeing how things deviate from their original values.
So while there are a lot of potential weaknesses to this type of research, the benefits for most companies far outweigh them. It’s not necessarily going to be the perfect research method, especially depending on the type of data you collect and your industry, but it is one that many companies have used with success in the past and will continue to use in the future.