This morning, I began participating in a survey in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago. For ten days, every half hour during my waking hours, I answer questions using an iPhone. Not my own iPhone; the research company provided it and I have to send it back when I’m done.
The research company wants to gather information that will help media and marketers understand a) what kinds of media people consume each day, b) where they are at the time, c) whom they are with and d) how they feel, among other things.
I answer a series of questions on the screen, which takes about 30-40 seconds, and my entries are instantly uploaded. That’s a big departure from the paper surveys of yesteryear – the researchers actually know whether you’ve filled out the info promptly or if you’re just going in once a day and checking off all the boxes from memory.
If I fall behind and miss a few ½ hour periods, the phone will remind me, and I’m incentivized to the tune of $150 if I answer all the questions and return the phone on time. My first impression of all of this is that the accuracy of the data will be greatly improved, but it may also drive me completely insane. Or maybe both! If anything interesting or entertaining comes from all of this, I’ll post an update.