For over 8 years now we have been running regular surveys asking middle class (ABC1) consumers and opinion leaders their perceptions of a number of British universities’ reputations. A number of our university clients have found it useful to monitor how their reputation scores change (or don’t change) over time and to ask audiences how and why they assess universities’ reputations and standing.

This year, for the first time we looked beyond the survey data to see whether, through statistical analysis, it would be possible to identify whether perceptions of reputation bear any relationship with other known data about the… Continue reading

young-people_wMany of our clients are keen to engage younger audiences but struggle to do so. Over the years we have learned a good deal about what works best to get the most from research and engagement activities with younger audiences.

There are many elements to this but we thought we’d share just a few of our top tips!

1. Be cautious of mixing
It’s easy to forget how we all felt when we were at school. The people in the year above us seemed so much older and more sophisticated, even intimidating. From an adult perspective the difference between a… Continue reading

We’re delighted to have been selected to run Ofgem’s (the gas and electricity regulator) Consumer First Panel through to 2017. The Panel has been running for 7 previous years and has been the flagship project within Ofgem’s Consumer First initiative. It comprises eighty everyday domestic customers recruited from four locations across Britain. The panel meets regularly to discuss key issues impacting on their participation in the energy market, as well as other topics related to energy. We have been appointed to recruit this year’s panel and run the regular panel sessions, with some further panel work taking place via an… Continue reading

At Community Research we are increasingly being asked by clients to help them to evaluate their websites as part of a process of re-design. Gathering feedback from current users and the wider target audience is vital if you want to make improvements that will work. There are a number of methods that can be used and we wanted to share them with you.

Focus groups

Focus groups are an ideal environment in which to explore desired content and functionality. Stimulus material can include the client site, known competitor or peer sites and sites suggested by respondents as having useful content… Continue reading

Dudley_wThe process of setting up the successful Vanguard Project (an NHS improvement programme) in Dudley has highlighted that there is a fundamental question to answer about what people want and value about ‘access’ in relation to primary health care services.

GP feedback

Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has evidence from the GP ‘friends and family test’ indicating that the majority of patients would recommend their surgery. Results from the GP Patient Survey for Dudley CCG area are also in the same ballpark as for England as a whole. However, previous research has highlighted that satisfaction levels are higher for those… Continue reading

As researchers, we spend our lives asking questions. We are skilled at framing questions in the right way to elicit answers that will help our clients to understand the communities they serve. Recently however times have changed and many conversations that are relevant to client organisations are going on without any such input or direction. Communities are now having their own conversations and it is vital that we learn what we can from these less orchestrated data sources.

I am talking of course of social media. We recently undertook a qualitative analysis of social media conversations on behalf of a… Continue reading

Kate Waller_wWe’re very pleased to announce that Kate Waller has joined us the Community Research team. Kate is a former colleague from our Opinion Leader days and brings extensive public and private sector research experience.

Her first job was researching carpets for the Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. Other roles she has undertaken during her career include four years working on various qualitative and quantitative consumer projects for Hauck Research and working on the customer insight team at systems consultancy Detica. Her time at Detica introduced her into the world of local government when she worked closely with Westminster City Council… Continue reading

Back in March this year, we attended a  Sciencewise (the UK’s national centre for public dialogue in policy making involving science and technology issues) workshop. The session was for research practioners and covered its new framework for assessing the quality of public dialogue in public policy making. The debate was driven partly by the findings from evaluations of public dialogue projects supported by Sciencewise. These have identified specific questions about the rigour and quality of dialogue processes, and the implications of those questions for the extent to which dialogue results can be used with confidence to inform public… Continue reading

As professional regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC) has a duty to encourage dental professionals to raise concerns where they have witnessed something that they believe poses a risk to patients. The Report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (the ‘Francis Report’) highlighted numerous issues relating to the provision of health services, not least the fact that taking the decision to raise a concern in the workplace is often a difficult one, which may impact on health professionals’ personal and professional lives. One objective of the GDC’s response to the Francis Report was to review its guidance… Continue reading

As researchers we sometimes face asking people about issues and experiences which are very sensitive, highly personal and / or emotionally charged. Nevertheless, if handled carefully, such subjects can be successfully explored and understood.

We faced this challenge when asked by the General Medical Council to undertake research first with doctors who had been through their Fitness to Practise procedures and then with complainants who had been through that same process from the other side.

Understanding the issues

The GMC wanted to understand how their processes might be improved from both perspectives. This was clearly important work, however we faced… Continue reading