Carlos Herrero
Expert Contributor

Research, Research, Research

By Carlos Herrero | Tue, 02/09/2021 - 13:12

We are living in the era of big data and at the same time, in the era of the immediacy of the information-verification-response cycle. In these two areas, surveys can be used exceedingly well to understand and define certain positions and visions of society.

However, surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographies and research on digital platforms do not provide the full meaning of scientific and professional research; scientific because of the method and professional because of the efficient use that needs to be made of it.

We have all learned some fundamental laws of research in general: it is not what is said but what is not said, it is necessary to create environments so that the perception transmitted is adequate, it is necessary to move to the field of life and work so that there is a deep analysis, the identification of an experience is required so that the contribution is closer to reality. However, the big question is, what is key for research to respond to reality and serve the objectives for which it is designed?

The central axis will always be in the methodology that must combine different strategies and tactics so that the analysis is experiential and comparative. Digital platforms can contribute efficiently to the identification of data but will never be able to reach the conclusions that are really needed.

In all research, we look for nine relevant elements to make decisions:

1.  Insight: These are the immediate and striking ideas that break through and illuminate the rest of the research.

2.  Discovery: Corresponds to the general findings that can begin to be classified as unforeseen lines of thought.

3.  Perception: The wide field of perceptions in which a mosaic from contradictory to complementary can be presented to understand the initial level of knowledge and valuation of something that is perceived.

4.      Learning: These are the deep learnings that touch on solid concepts that serve to orient oneself in the knowledge of a reality. They are, naturally, the logical step after discovery.

5.    Surprise: While insights are illuminations that guide the way for conceptual learnings, surprises, as the name indicates, are those perceptions not expected at all within the research scheme.

6.   Trends: Beyond these concepts, there are repetitive lines of thought and assessment that constitute relevant trends. Trends are usually obtained by repetition or accumulation of perceptions of a certain socioeconomic group. They can be easily misleading, but when actually proven, they constitute a gold mine for research to add value.

7.     Disruption: Cognitive acts follow a mental and structured logic. From the idea that is formed by relevant data, it goes to verification; from here a concept is formed, which when verified is transformed into a judgment of existence and value of something. When the cognitive process breaks spontaneously and strikingly, we find a cognitive disruption that clearly redirects the analysis and the value of something.

8.    Dissonance: When the different perceptions of a study are analyzed, relationships of all kinds are established in a continuous crossing of concepts. At that moment, we find logical lines and lines that lack it. Relevant conclusions can be drawn from the analytical crossing of both.

9.    Friction: There are aspects that are often imperceptible but which the researcher must have the ability to find and understand. These are elements that can divert, complicate, amplify or redirect a perception. Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix, considered that these small frictions, such as going directly to the seasons of the series or omitting the introduction, favored a better perception in the user. Time has proven him right. That is why it is so important to discover these frictions.

These nine themes discovered in the research require an interdisciplinary and interpersonal analysis. The most obvious error that I have perceived in research studies consists of prejudiced, subjective or self-interested interpretation that brings nothing but errors of vision, projection and calculation.

In a study on the values of Mexicans carried out in 1999 and which cost more than US$600,000, I was able to perceive how the professionals directing the study stopped the research every time a perception appeared that they had already assimilated as a prejudice. In research, prejudices kill everything and slowing down the process interrupts the background of what you really want to discover.

None of the nine aspects mentioned walks on its own. They intertwine, explain each other and verify each other in order to draw conclusions that are useful. Behind great research there must be professionals who have the ability for an aseptic, deep analysis that respects the truth of perception. And you always have to avoid believing your own lies, let alone considering them as truths.

Photo by:   Carlos Herrero