Why surveys should always be piloted

This morning I completed an almost incomprehensible marketing survey. Here’s an example of one of the questions.

Marketing survey

Like all of the other questions in the survey, you have to answer it to proceed to the next question. There’s a fixed range of answers that can be selected, with nowhere for me to indicate that I didn’t understand the question. Most of the questions were like this, so my best guess is that YouGov’s client will end up with statistical noise and a sprinkling of confirmation bias.

My suspicion is that the survey wasn’t piloted before release with its target audience. If it had been, simple ambiguities (does 2030 mean half past eight tonight or is it something due to happen in 14 years?) would have been picked up, questions would have been rephrased to make them comprehensible to the lay-person and the ability to answer ‘don’t know/don’t understand’ would have been provided.

But even if such changes had been made, it’s doubtful that anything insightful will result from the survey. The client would have been far better to employ a qualitative research method to explore such hypothetical questions. A good first question would be to ask for a definition of a luxury brand, rather than making the assumption that the client, YouGov and the survey’s audience all share the same perspective. As it stands they’re likely to get some nice charts with average scores to a couple of decimal places, but little insight into what consumers really think.

Discursive strategies used by sales leaders in value co-creation

Today, this amazing thing happened.
DOP Conference 2017 Programme

A short paper based on my MSc research into the discursive strategies used by sales leaders has been included in the programme for the 2017 BPS division of occupational psychology conference. It’s being held in Liverpool between 4th – 6th January. I have a 9am slot on the morning after the gala dinner. I can see that I may need to find innovative ways of encouraging people to attend …

Anyway, I’m absolutely thrilled, excited, chuffed … you get the picture … to be able to speak at the conference. I really hope to see some of you who have read this blog over the years there too.

10,000 steps a day – days 28, 29 & 30 – the end

Thank you to everyone who sponsored my 10,000 steps a day challenge for Cancer Research UK. It’s hugely appreciated and the £305 raised will really help. I completed the challenge successfully yesterday by adding another 10,127 steps – my lowest daily total of the month. I confess that I was getting rather tired of the constant nagging from the app, so my Fitbit is definitely going nowhere near my wrist in October!

The end

Thank you all again.


10,000 steps a day – day 27 – Allestree by-election

Today’s steps were easily achieved as this evening I went out leafleting on behalf of the excellent Liberal Democrat by-election candidate for Allestree, Deena Smith.

Allestree by-electionFor those of you that don’t follow Derby politics closely, the vacancy was caused by the Conservative councillor elected in May being jailed for two months for providing a false address. I think the people of Allestree deserve better than to have their votes taken for granted by the Tory party. The by-election is on Thursday and I hope that the recent success elsewhere in Derbyshire is a good omen in what has been considered a safe Conservative ward.

If you’ve never delivered leaflets before, this is what the activity looks like to a Fitbit tracker.

Delivery WalkI was quite pleased that I didn’t have to backtrack too many times.


There are just three days left in my September walk all over cancer, but there’s still time to sponsor me. My donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – days 24, 25 & 26 – Pocahontas

A lot of gardening over the weekend and today’s visit to Gravesend has pushed me over September’s 300,000 step target. Thank you again to everyone who has sponsored me – you’ve raised a magnificent £305 for Cancer Research. I shall, of course, keep trying for 10,000 steps a day for the rest of the month. Target one has been achieved though!

300,000 upWhile waiting for my colleagues to arrive in Ebbsfleet International at stupid o’clock this morning, a plaque just inside the station terminal caught my eye. It commemorates the death of Pocahontas in Gravesend some 400 years ago. As the station is new and trains didn’t exist in 1617, it did make me (playfully) wonder if anything else of note had ever happened here. But it’s an interesting touch in a pleasant, if rather empty station.

PocahontasAnyway, not wishing to become another Gravesend celebrity death, I got on the first Javelin train out of there once my meeting had finished. I’m pleased to report that I’m now safely tucked up at home in Derby.


Regardless of whether you’re happy, indifferent or sad that the curse of Gravesend didn’t get me today, there’s still time to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September. My donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – days 21, 22 & 23 – miscellany

I’ve been ticking along on the challenge quite nicely for the last three days. No big dramas, although I did need a short walk in the dark on the 21st to reach my target. The last three days have been busy, so this post is a bit of a miscellany.

21st – ARIS User Group, London

A really well attended and informative event, held at the Glaziers Hall. This was the view from the lunch room.

London Bridge22nd – Derby

My Fitbit tells me that mowing our lawn is worth 1,325 steps. Target achieved!

Mowing the lawn23rd – Derby again

The preparations for Derby Festé are in full swing. A number of fire-breathing dragons are currently being assembled next to Riverlights.

DragonsCancer Research have also reminded me that there’s only 7 days of this challenge left to go …

7 days to go… and finally, I was given my first new fiver today in change for a coffee. Many people are donating their first plastic fivers to charity, so that’s where mine is going, bringing my total raised so far to £305.

First plastic fiver

There’s still time to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September. My donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – days 19 & 20 – work

Sometimes reaching 10,000 steps a day is a significant challenge if work means I’m writing a document or presentation. Monday was like that – by mid afternoon I was still below 2,000 steps for the day. I eventually reached the target by some judicious gardening and taking the long route to the shops. Other days, like yesterday, work makes reaching the target very easy. Well, easy, apart from lugging around the case that I had with me for my overnight stay. Wrestling it on and off the underground at peak times is never easy for anyone …

After yesterday’s exertions, I spent the evening in a hotel in Hammersmith. I was on the 13th floor – so great for clocking up extra steps up and down the stairwell. And the view was, well, of Hammersmith.

HammersmithThis morning, I’ve been ranting at the Independent’s headline writers on twitter. They’re misreporting an initiative by Microsoft by suggesting that software will ‘solve’ cancer in the next decade. If they read their own article, they’d see that’s not what’s being claimed. For rare cancers, like MCL, the issue isn’t sifting through lots of research of course, it’s getting the research funded in the first place.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – day 18 – Hardwick Hall

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Derbyshire. So Jane and I took a quick hop up the M1 to Hardwick Hall – one of my favourite National Trust properties. You can spend a whole day here, as there’s the Hall, Old Hall, gardens, walks around the estate and the tea rooms to keep you busy. Especially the tea rooms. We decided to do the Sculpture Trail (in blue) – around 2.5 miles. While the walks are all well signposted, the free leaflet is helpful too.

Hardwick Estate MapIt’s quite steep in places and because we were taking in the views, our progress was rather sedate.

The WalkAfter all that exertion, a cream tea with lashings of ginger beer was most definitely called for.

Cream Tea

© 2016 Jane Holyoake

Followed by a walk around the Hall’s gardens.

Hardwick Hall

© 2016 Jane Holyoake

And a doze in a thoughtfully provided deckchair.


© 2016 Jane Holyoake

I recorded over 16,000 steps even with the deckchair interlude, not to mention a quick blat in brum gnu later.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!

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