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An infographic, a visual representation of information, can be a great way of presenting insight quickly and clearly. They are particularly useful when your audience is time poor and just needs to take on board the key messages from a piece of research. Their eye-catching and easily digestible format make them a powerful tool when you need to influence people.

Community Research recently conducted a large-scale piece of research for the Consumer Council for Water. We wrote a full report of our findings so that people could understand the nuances and detail behind the key messages, but we also produced… Continue reading

mobile ethnography

With 85% of the population now having access to a smartphone[1], there has never been a better time to consider using mobile ethnography as part of a research project. Mobile ethnography enables researchers to get insights into consumers’ real lives without the resource intensity of traditional ethnographic research. It can be used as part of a research project, for example, as a pre-task in advance of face-to-face qualitative research, or as standalone study into consumer behaviour.

There are a number of benefits to using mobile ethnography:

  • It’s real. Because tasks are completed in real time (rather than based on what… Continue reading


Like all market research suppliers we have been hard at work over the last few months preparing for GDPR. Whilst we have always taken our data protection responsibilities seriously, this has been a good opportunity to review all of our systems and processes to make sure that we can fully document how we are complying with the new regulations.

Our clients will probably see little obvious difference. At Community Research it is unusual for us to be in the position of receiving data from our clients, although this does sometimes happen. More frequently we are recruiting participants for research directly – and the lawful basis is consent. This means our focus has been very much on making sure we have the right processes for gaining informed consent from those we recruit. We will have to be even more clear about what data we will collect (including photographs or videos) how it will be used, processed, stored and, eventually destroyed. Continue reading

Collaborative researchFor many research projects, traditional qualitative and quantitative approaches are wholly appropriate. However, there are times we need to go beyond traditional research techniques, especially if a less siloed methodology is preferable – where the client is seeking a solution to an issue which involves multiple audiences, for instance.

On these occasions we tend to suggest collaborative programmes which bring together different audiences in a managed way. We have previously used such approaches to enable a variety of participants (for example, consumers and service providers; patients and health professionals) to work collaboratively and find solutions which suit both parties. Patients and the public bring their own perspectives and experiences; service providers, stakeholders and health professionals contribute knowledge of how systems work and the practical constraints under which they are operating. In collaboration, they can often find solutions which, separately, may elude them. Continue reading

We often conduct research with the public on complex topics – the details of which are likely to be unfamiliar to participants. Over the years we have successfully helped members of the public to understand, discuss and debate a wide range of complex subjects, from the challenges of global food sustainability to the difficulties facing NHS bodies in redesigning services for a changing population.

Here are our five top tips for engaging on complex topics:

Use visuals to help convey complex information

Information can be provided through presentations, briefings, videos, quiz sessions and expert speakers to ensure that different learning styles are catered for. Complex information needs to be broken down into bite-sized pieces and made fully digestible. Visual information often works better, in this respect.

We often use graphically illustrated scenarios/story boards to aid comprehension of the key issues and to facilitate discussion. Graphic illustrations can convey potentially quite complex scenarios in a way that makes intuitive sense because it is easy to show relationships and links. Digital illustrations are relatively quick to produce and very adaptable, so they are a good fit for projects with tight timings and budgets.

In a number of recent projects, we have taken this further by developing bespoke whiteboard animations. The availability of off-the-shelf software such as Videoscribe (animations) makes the process relatively easy. At Community Research, we are increasingly using this technique as part of our deliberative research tool set and we’re finding it really works. More information on animations is provided in our blog post of 3rd July 2017.

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Listening to customers, inviting feedback on services and exploring their views on where and how money should be invested is crucial to establishing a sustainable approach to future water supplies. In advance of submitting its latest Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP), South Staffs Water (incorporating Cambridge Water) commissioned Community Research to carry out a study with household, business and future customers to help them to understand customers’ priorities and to invite them to share their views on a variety of investment options. The information has been used to develop the companies’ draft WRMPs and to contribute to their Business Plans.

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We are delighted to announce that the Food Standards Agency have appointed Community Research in partnership with 2CV Research to deliver their citizens’ forum research programme over the next 18 months (and hopefully beyond!)  The two agencies each bring a different but overlapping set of skills and experience to the partnership, giving the FSA the benefits of working with boutique agencies while also being able to access the resources and expertise of a wider consortium.

The FSA’s programme of consumer engagement is based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies with a broad range of audiences including SMEs,… Continue reading

With many clients in the regulation sector, we know how seriously they have to take public engagement, both for understanding the needs of the audiences they are there to protect as well as for the development of policy and communications. So we read with interest an article from the Brookings Institution (a US based nonprofit public policy organisation) that reflects on a new paper ‘Power to the People: A New Trend in Regulation‘ by Robert Hahn, Robert Metcalfe and Florian Rundhammer’ which looks at customer engagement by regulators. They include 2 case studies from the UK too… Continue reading

We are often required to explain complex issues to research participants in deliberative (informed dialogue) research. Over the years we have used a number of ways to do this and we have successfully helped members of the public to understand the complexities of a wide range of subjects – from the challenges of global food sustainability; to the difficulties facing NHS bodies in redesigning services for a changing population.

We always tackle this challenge by using a variety of ways to provide information, in order to keep participants interested and engaged. Information may be provided through presentations, briefings, videos, quiz… Continue reading

We are delighted that The General Dental Council (GDC) has once again commissioned Community Research and Research Now to run their 5,000 strong Word of Mouth patient and public panel. We refreshed the panel last month to ensure that it was still a nationally representative sample and then it was straight back to business.

Over the past 2 years the GDC, the regulator for the dental profession, has used the panel to understand the views of patients and public on a variety of issues, including:

  • A large scale quantitative study to gain feedback following dental appointments.
  • A website usability study.… Continue reading
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