An important aspect of conducting, interpreting and using research is this idea of context.
All research projects have a context — when they were conducted, how they were conducted, who conducted them, who was invited to participate in them, how respondents participated, etc.
All of these considerations affect how we should look at the results of a particular research project, regardless of when it was conducted.
As I record this, we’re in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic here in the United States. Many of my clients are asking, “Is this the right time to do our research, or should we wait until things are back to normal?”
The answer to that question depends on the context in which you’re conducting and planning to use the results of your research.
If you were planning to launch in-person focus groups, you should instead be looking at how to proceed using online focus group technology.
If you’re doing research for a hospital group, you need to think about what you’re trying to learn from the research. If it’s how people feel about their healthcare options and how your hospital group is performing against those expectations, you need to consider how current events may be affecting consumer’s opinions on those topics. and whether it’s important for you to understand how they feel right now, or whether you want to understand how they will feel once panic starts to subside. This can affect the timing of your research.
You can ask questions in your surveys about how people USED to go about buying supplies for their home improvement projects, and then ask whether and how that has changed given the current situation. That will help you understand the results in context.
So if you have research projects in development, talk to your research provider and discuss whether the context in which the research is going to be conducted changes how to want to proceed.